Ashland County homicide suspect linked to fourth body

The Marion County Sheriff is calling Shawn Grate a 'serial killer.'

Ashland Police Department and Ohio BCI execute a search warrant on a home on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, in Ashland, Ohio. Authorities say a woman reported being held captive, leading to the arrest of a kidnapping suspect, a murder confession and the discovery of three bodies. Two bodies were found Tuesday at a home in Ashland. The third was found in nearby Madison Township.  (Tom E. Puskar/The Times Gazette via AP)
Ashland Police Department and Ohio BCI execute a search warrant on a home on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, in Ashland, Ohio. Authorities say a woman reported being held captive, leading to the arrest of a kidnapping suspect, a murder confession and the discovery of three bodies. Two bodies were found Tuesday at a home in Ashland. The third was found in nearby Madison Township. (Tom E. Puskar/The Times Gazette via AP)

ASHLAND, OH (WCMH/AP) — An Ashland County man previously linked to the deaths of three women is now considered a suspect in a fourth homicide.

Forty-year-old Shawn Grate confessed to killing a woman south of Marion more than 10 years ago, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s office said the body of an unidentified woman was found in 2007 in a wooded area near Victory Road. Investigators said Grate confessed to abducting the woman and holding her in a home for several days before stabbing her in the neck and killing her. Grate allegedly dumped her body and set it on fire.

Investigators said Grate believed her name was either Diane or Dana. The body found in 2007 was not positively identified.

No charges have been filed in the Marion County case.

Grate appeared in a video bond hearing Monday for the two Ashland County homicides where his attorney entered the not-guilty pleas for him.

Grate was arrested Sept. 13 after a woman called 911 and said she was being held inside an Ashland home. Police arrived, arrested Grate and found the remains of 43-year-old Stacey Stanley and 29-year-old Elizabeth Griffith. Grate is charged with two counts of murder. A court document accuses Grate of kidnapping a third woman “to engage in sexual activity.”

READ MORE: Jailed Ohio kidnapping suspect points police to 3rd body

Authorities say Grate later led them to a third body in Richland County. That woman hasn’t been identified.

Police haven’t said how the women died.

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