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'Don’t forget my sister'

By Matt Westerhold • Updated Feb 20, 2019 at 11:19 AM

FREMONT — A woman whose sister died in 2009 under mysterious circumstances wants her death certificate changed. 

“I don’t want her case to disappear now that Heather’s is solved. I will not quit,” Loriann Sluder Haley said.

Haley was referring to the conviction last week of Daniel Myers, who pleaded guilty to murdering Heather Bogle in April 2015.

She was also referring to the March 1, 2009 death of her sister, Leigh Ann Sluder.

It was Myers who discovered her sister’s body, inside a bedroom in a mobile home Myers owned at Emerald Estates in Clyde near another mobile home he owned where he lived. Sluder and Myers shared a son.

Sluder had been shot once with a shotgun, which was lying in the bed next to her body when Myers made the discovery. Sluder’s death was ruled a suicide.

At his trial last week, Sandusky County Prosecutor Tim Braun described Myers as a sadist, a deviant and a brutal killer. Numerous women came forward after he was identified as a suspect in Bogle’s murder, Braun said, with harrowing stories about Myers’ sadism. 

The judge sentenced him to life in prison with no chance of parole, plus 22 years.

When he was questioned after finding Sluder’s body about a decade ago, however, Myers told investigators he had a very good relationship with Sluder. They had only been intimate on a few occasions, he said, calling it a “friends with benefits” arrangement.

Detectives never tested his hands for gunshot residue, and county coroner John Wukie ruled her death a suicide despite the unlikely circumstances of a woman killing herself in her own bed using a shotgun, and despite failing to take into account her interactions with family in the hours prior to her death. 

“I knew in my gut, when I was told the next day, that it was not right,” Haley told the Sandusky Register shortly after Myers was arrested on June 1, 2017, in the Bogle homicide. “I always knew something was very wrong with it. Her friends knew something was wrong.”

Haley, who lives in Florida, said she was the last person in her family to speak with Sluder — in a 20-minute phone call less than a day before she died. She and Sluder discussed Sluder’s son and a soccer game during that phone call, she recalled.

“Not once did I get a hint that (she was) depressed,” Haley said, referencing a claim Myers made to police that Sluder was taking medication for depression.

When Sheriff Chris Hilton and his investigators executed a search warrant at Myers home just days before his arrest, neighbors in the Emerald Estates mobile home park also were still troubled by the suicide ruling. They approached Hilton and shared their concerns. 

One woman told the sheriff she and other residents “never believed Leigh Ann committed suicide and always thought Myers could somehow be responsible,” Hilton said.

If he asked Haley, or Sluder’s neighbors then about her state of mind, Wukie, who has made several controversial suicide rulings in the past, didn’t listen. He has not changed his ruling, and he’s refused to respond to inquiries about it.

After Myers was sentenced, Hilton expressed relief. 

“He will never see the light of day,” said Hilton, whose election in 2017 led to a re-starting of the Bogle murder and the arrest of Myers.

Braun said after the sentencing that his office and the sheriff would be re-focusing on the Sluder investigation.

Wukie made himself unavailable for comment. His suicide ruling made Sluder’s children, an older son and her younger son with Myers, ineligible to receive a death benefit from her employer, Haley said. 

“The boys should have the insurance money they deserve, that’s all I want. That’s what I’ve been fighting for is for them,” she said. 

In 2012, Wukie ruled the death of Jacob Limberios and “accidental suicide,” and his young daughter also was denied the death benefit from an insurance policy. None of the investigators on the scene the night Limberios was shot, nor anyone in his family, believed it was a suicide.

Wukie is the only person with that opinion, and he refused to talk with the Limberios family after making that ruling. 

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