September 16, 2014

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Authorities think suspect may have had accomplice

Did someone help accused killer Nathan Summerfield when he was on the run?

That’s the question U.S. Marshals are asking.

When Summerfield was arrested Aug. 15 at a Wadsworth motel, a staff member said he arrived the day before, driving alone in a red pickup.

But Pete Elliott, the U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, said Tuesday no vehicle was found at or near the Legacy Inn and Suites, 410 High St.

Elliott said authorities are trying to determine what happened to the pickup. Elliott added that it is possible someone helped transport Summerfield, who was the subject of a monthlong nationwide manhunt.

“If there was anyone harboring him, they will be charged,” Elliott said. “We’re following up on everything right now.”

Summerfield, 27, of Ashland, is accused of killing his girlfriend, Lynn Jackenheimer, 33, in Dare County, in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where they were vacationing with her two children in early July.

Jackenheimer, also of Ashland, disappeared July 3. Her body was found July 16 about 25 miles from the beach house where they had stayed. Police said she died of strangulation and stab wounds.

Summerfield last was seen July 8 when he returned the children to Ashland. The hunt for him began after his brother told police Summerfield said he’d strangled Jackenheimer.

Summerfield’s car was found Aug. 8 in Michigan and tips about his whereabouts came from all over the country.

In Ohio, a woman told police she thought she spotted Summerfield in Columbus, and authorities in the Port Clinton area were alerted because Summerfield frequently visited the area.

Elliott has not revealed how the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force learned Summerfield was in the Wadsworth motel, saying only officers “developed information that placed Summerfield” at the motel, early that day.

Federal officers arrested him just hours before he was supposed to check out.

How he got to the motel is not clear.

Alice Selbert, manager of the motel, said Tuesday she saw Summerfield drive a red Ford Ranger when he registered under the name “Jay Summerfield” the previous day.

“I checked him in and saw the truck,” she said. “I didn’t see anyone else inside it.”

Lt. Rob Wyrick, of the Wadsworth Police Department, said a search of Legacy Inn and its surrounding area conducted the day of Summerfield’s arrest turned up nothing.

“We looked for the vehicle and came up empty-handed,” Wyrick said.

Summerfield is being held without bond in a North Carolina jail where he was taken after waiving extradition at a hearing last week before Medina County Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler.

In his first court appearance in Dare County on Tuesday, Judge Edgar Barnes referred the case to a grand jury, which is scheduled to meet Sept. 10.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or sgrazier@medina-gazette.com.