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Bond set for suspect after kidnap victim's 911 call leads to 3 bodies

Shawn Grate appearing via video feed in an Ashland, Ohio court Sept. 16, 2016

WOIO

ASHLAND, Ohio -- Bond has been set at $1 million for a man arrested at a house where two bodies were found, after a woman he allegedly kidnapped called 911.

Shawn Grate is charged with killing Stacey Stanley, 43, and Elizabeth Griffith, 29, whose bodies was found in the home. Griffith’s remains were identified Friday. Ashland County Prosecutor Christopher Tunnell has said officials are working to identify a third body that Grate led them to in neighboring Richland County.

Grate was charged with two counts of murder and one count of kidnapping Thursday. Additional charges could be filed, Tunnell said.

Grate, 40, appeared via video feed for the hearing Friday and didn’t enter a plea. When a judge asked him if he had any questions about his bond, he replied, “No. Sounds fair.”

Grate was arrested Tuesday morning after a woman called 911 and said she had been tied up but had partly freed herself in a bedroom while her captor slept in the same room.

“I’ve been abducted,” the woman whispered in the 911 call. “Please hurry.”

The woman said the man had a stun gun, and she was afraid of waking him. She had known him for about a month and a half, she told the dispatcher. The kidnapping charge includes a specification that Grate had allegedly abducted her “to engage in sexual activity.”

A prosecutor said Friday Grate held the woman against her will for several days – from Sunday until Tuesday morning – and said the state believes the case against him is strong.

Ashland police said officers found the kidnap victim and Grate at a home that was supposed to be unoccupied. Investigators also found the remains of two bodies there, Chief David Marcelli said.

Police confirmed Wednesday that one of the bodies was that of the 43-year-old Stanley, who lived in Greenwich and was reported missing from Huron County. Stanley’s son said she had been missing since Sept. 8 after telling him she had gotten a flat tire.

Bruce Wilkinson, pastor and director of Pump House Ministries, which owns the home where the two bodies were found and one next to it, said the properties had been vacant since March and were being renovated. He said they were padlocked and checked weekly.

The coroner hasn’t determined how Stanley died or identified the second body, Ashland police said.

Grate led investigators to a third person’s remains at a property near Mansfield in neighboring Richland County, police said. He confessed to killing a woman in June at a house destroyed by fire that month, Richland County Prosecutor Bambi Couch Page told the Mansfield News Journal.

Authorities checked the Mansfield-area site Tuesday and found decomposed remains in a ravine behind the house. The remains haven’t been identified.

Record show Grate, who is homeless, has a long criminal record and served time in prison on a burglary charge beginning in 1997.