An odd chain of events led Middletown, Ohio police to discover a body inside a barrel at a residence in the 3200 block of Yankee Road on June 30th.
The tip that led police to the residence came from a man calling from Tennessee that, according to WLWT told the 911 dispatcher, "There's supposed to be a person inside that overdosed about three days ago ... as far as I know, the body's still there, that's what I was told." That information is said to have come from a woman that lived at the residence on Yankee Road.
When police arrived at the residence, they informed the man that opened the door, 35-year-old William Slaton, that they had received a report of a deceased woman in a barrel and asked to check his yard. According to court documents, Slaton is said to have given permission before closing the door on officers. They soon heard noises at the back of the house and rounded the home to see him throwing a barrel over the back fence into a neighbor's yard.
"Upon opening the metal drum, we discovered a nude white female," investigators said, according to court documents. Using dental records, the victim was identified as 21-year-old Cecily S. Cornett of Somerville, Ohio. Her cause and manner of death have not yet been determined.
WLWT reported that Slaton confirmed that the woman had been at his residence and "He advised after using narcotics that he woke and went into the basement where he found the victim hanging in the basement." Court documents continued by saying, "Mr. Slaton stated that he then used a sharp object to cut off all of the victim's fingers. He then used a razor knife to cut off all of the victims tattoos on her body. He put the items in a sealed bowl and hid the fingers and skin in the basement."
Slaton said that he had allowed the body to remain in the basement for several days before relocating it to the barrel.
Slaton is in custody at the Butler County Jail and is charged with abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence, and failure to report a crime. His bail has been set at $210,000 and there is an additional US Marshals Service hold on him.
According to Dalton Daily News, Slaton is no stranger to law enforcement and in 2011, he was indicted by a Butler County grand jury on eight counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity oriented material or performance and four counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, according to Butler County Clerk of Courts records. Slaton pleaded guilty to six of the felony charges and the remainder of the counts were merged.
He was sentenced to seven years in prison and was released in May, 2018. He remains under supervision by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
According to the press release issued by the Middleton Police Department and the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office stated that there may be more files charged as the investigation continues.