Racine Man Indicted In 16-Year-Old’s Death

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A Meigs County man has been indicted in the alleged murder of a 16-year-old West Virginia girl and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday to answer the charge.

Ernest M. Roach, 36, of Mile Hill Road in Racine was indicted last week by a Meigs County grand jury on one count of murder, two counts of compelling prostitution, two counts of tampering with evidence and one count of gross abuse of a corpse.

Roach is charged in Meigs County in connection with the disappearance of Erica Brown, who was reported missing on Aug. 10 from Kanawha County, W. Va.

He was arrested Aug. 29 after a federal criminal complaint was filed claiming Roach had allegedly been traveling "in interstate commerce with intent to engage in sexual conduct with another person," according to previous Messenger reporting. The federal complaint was related to the murder case, Meigs County Prosecuting Attorney Colleen Williams said in a previous interview with The Messenger.

In the complaint, investigators alleged that Roach had met with a teen who had placed an ad on Craigslist "to meet men" in exchange for money.

The complaint also stated that Roach allegedly admitted to picking up a minor in West Virginia "for the purpose of engaging in sexual intercourse with her."

Human remains identified to be Brown's were found along the Ohio River near Portland by a group of campers, according to previous statements by the Meigs County Sheriff's Office.

Roach waived extradition from West Virginia on Tuesday in Kanawha County Circuit Court. He was being held at the South Central Regional Jail in Charleston.

He is scheduled to appear for arraignment in Meigs County on Monday, Williams said.

The investigation into Brown's disappearance was led by the Meigs County Sheriff's Office, which was assisted by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office, the Jackson County (West Virginia) Sheriff's Office and the United States Marshals Service.

"We're glad we got to this point in the case," said Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood. "(The investigation) was challenging because of the many jurisdictions we were dealing with, but we had great cooperation from everyone."