It’s been almost three years since the body of a Salem woman was found dead in a remote stretch of Perry Township in Columbiana County and still no arrests have been made.
Jim Ziegler learned his sister had died just hours after he had returned home from Hawaii after attending a family wedding. But it wasn’t until nearly a year later that it was discovered she had been murdered.
Ardes Bauman’s badly burned remains were found in late October of 2010. She was found off Egypt Road, about 20 yards from her minivan. Although authorities first suspected suicide, autopsy and other testing revealed Bauman, 60, had been strangled.
Ziegler said he is considering offering a reward for information on his sister’s killer.
“Who knows? I mean, there aren’t very many genuine people that know, but it’s three years. People talk,” Ziegler said.
Ziegler said he has spoken with Perry Township’s police chief about the investigation, but the decision on when and if to go forward and file charges is ultimately up to county prosecutors, who also will decide whether or not to offer a reward. Columbiana County Prosecutor Bob Herron could not be reached to discuss the issue, but Ziegler has his own views on what happened to Bauman.
He thinks her death was the result of a domestic dispute that Ziegler believes started soon after he took control of their mother’s financial affairs. Prior to her death, Bauman had been suspected of neglecting their mother’s health care and stealing from her bank accounts..
“My sister was the avenue for the ‘golden goose’. And then when I got mom out and got her in the hospital and my sister couldn’t get anymore money, suddenly desperation set in,” Ziegler said.
Although Ziegler is convinced authorities have enough evidence to make a case, no one’s ever been charged.
“We need a witness. Or we need somebody to roll on somebody else,” he said.