WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – An Ashtabula County man who had human remains at his house, according to police, admitted to having contact with a missing Warren teen the day she disappeared, according to WKBN news partner The Tribune Chronicle.
According to police testimony during an initial court hearing Thursday, James Brooks had contact with Alesha Bell, 18, on July 23, the day she was last seen.
The Ashtabula County sheriff previously said there’s a connection between Bell and Brooks, who has been charged with abuse of a corpse after human remains were found in his Roaming Shores, Ohio backyard on Thursday, Aug. 20. But local law enforcement also believes she may still be alive.
Police are testing bones that were found in Brooks’ fire pit during a raid at his Roaming Shores house. Bell’s mother submitted her DNA for for the testing.
A prayer walk for Alesha Bell Thursday night. Over 50 friends and family participated.
The prayer walk started at Bell’s family home with a prayer then moved around the neighborhood. Family members believe she’s still alive. “I know, I feel it inside of me, and I know she’s still alive to this day”, says Bells cousin Lakyra Gunther.”And she better still be alive. Whoever took her needs to bring her back.”
Lt Marvin Hill with the Ohio State Highway Patrol organized the walk. He says, “Ohio is huge in regard to human trafficking and people being sold into prostitution. It’s very huge. I just want to bring that to the community so that the community is more aware.”
Family and friends found some comfort from the gathering. And they hope this will create more awareness of Alesha’s story.
Friend Tania Ford said, “It’s time for you to come home. Where are you at? Who has you? Why did this happen to you?”