COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A man missing since Nov. 13 answered a Craigslist help-wanted ad police say was a deadly scheme to lure people to a nonexistent farm job so they could be robbed, his family said.
Timothy Kern's father called the outlook "pretty grim," and Kern's son said his father had been murdered. The missing man -- who would be the scheme's third known victim -- called the job offer "strange" in a Facebook post.
Two people are in custody, but law enforcement officials have released few details because of a gag order. The Akron Beacon Journal identified the suspects as a 52-year-old man from Akron and a high school student from the Akron area. The teenager was charged Friday with attempted murder. His name is in court documents, but the AP generally does not report the names of minors charged with crimes.
No charges were immediately brought against the man, who remained in Summit County Jail on Tuesday on unrelated charges.
Kern was promised $300 a week, a trailer and a truck for the job near Caldwell in southern Ohio, his father, Jack Kern, told the AP on Tuesday. He said his son was excited about the job because of the chance of bettering his life.
In a Facebook post on Nov. 10, Tim Kern wrote: "Just got one of the strangest job offers. A good offer but strange. The job is to watch over 680 acres south of cambridge. Odd jobs and such but mainly just secure it. Trailer, utilities, salary. Drawbacks? No cell phone service, kids are up here, and i have to move this sunday."
Jack Kern, of Massillon, said his son was rarely out of touch and often texted and called family members.
"We're holding hope, but pretty grim, I think," he said.
A Florida man who replied to a similar ad was found dead in Noble County last week. A South Carolina man said he escaped after being shot Nov. 6.
Before a judge issued a gag order, the Noble County sheriff said it was unclear how long the ad was online or if there are other victims.
Timothy Kern, 47, divorced and the father of three sons, worked most recently cleaning gas station driveways, his father said. He said his son apparently answered the Craigslist ad Oct. 30 and interviewed for the job with a man in an Akron restaurant Nov. 9. His son left his car with a friend in Akron on Nov. 13 and was driven to what he was told was the job site.
Timothy Kern told family the job involved running a 600-acre farm in Noble County. The man who escaped gave police a similar account of a farm job, saying he was building fences.
Neighbors near the property where the man escaped said there is no such farm. Instead, the area is a former strip mine owned by a coal company that rents the land to hunters.
Timothy Kern said he was told there would be no cell phone or Internet service where he was going, but he could call when driven to nearby Cambridge, his father said.
One of Kern's sons, Zack, wrote on his website: "My father answered to an ad on Craigslist about a job opportunity involving a 688 acre farm and housing in a 2 bedroom trailer. No one knows the exact date he was murdered but it was sometime between Sunday the 13th and Thursday the 17th. The case is still under investigation. If you could keep my family and I in your thoughts I would appreciate it. The years ahead of me will be so hard. I love you dad. Rest in peace."