Richard Howard was arraigned in the Portsmouth Municipal Court Monday on charges related to the death of Nichole Alloway.
According to Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini, Alloway, 19, came to Portsmouth from Springhope, N.C., to meet up with a man she had met on the Internet. She was last seen June 10 day on surveillance footage inside Portsmouth Kroger picking up money wired to her by her grandmother. On July 12, a married couple discovered Alloways decomposed remains in the Otway area of Little Bear Creek.
Howard, 32, of 1335 Wrights Run Road, in McDermott, was arrested Friday.
Donini said investigators believe Alloway and Howard were traveling on Ohio 73 while they were allegedly abusing drugs, and Alloway passed away in Howards vehicle. After her death, investigators allege Howard disposed of her body by taking it to a rock-embedded area off of Ohio 73, in Otway, and hiding the body.
Howard is charged with gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence, and trafficking in drugs.
Alloways grandmother, Diane Dille, reportedly told WITN News, in North Carolina, her granddaughter did not have a drug problem, and said officials in Ohio told her Howard confessed to murder.
Donini said Howard has only confessed to being present in a vehicle with Alloway at the time while doing drugs when she overdosed. He said Howard has not, to his knowledge, confessed to the intentional death of Alloway.
Traditionally, people think murder is intentionally causing the death. I dont know that that was the circumstances here, Donini said. It doesnt seem to me that that would actually be murder. It may be something like involuntary manslaughter, where he contributed by being present and/or providing the drugs that caused the death.
Donini said at the time of Howards arrest that further death-related charges will be presented to the Scioto County Grand Jury after final forensics reports are received.
Howard was scheduled to return Friday before Judge Russell Kegley, in Courtroom A, of the Portsmouth City Courthouse. He remains in the Scioto County Jail, held on $105,000 bond.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.