Grove City Record

Hilliard man indicted for murder of his mother

Victim Terri Menendez was a prominent member of the Grove City business community

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

A Franklin County grand jury last week handed up a felony indictment for murder against Tyler J. Dunkle.

Dunkle, 22, is accused of killing his mother, Terri L. Menendez, 44, March 29 at their Hilliard townhome.

Menendez, a financial adviser with the Edward Jones office at 4007 Broadway, was a prominent member of the Grove City business community. She was an active member of the Grove City Lions, the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce and participant in local civic celebrations, including Arts in the Alley, Boo on Broadway, Town Center holiday activities and parades.

Dunkle was arraigned Monday, April 15, in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, where a judge set a $1 million bond.

No preliminary hearing or pretrial date was set at the arraignment, but the case was dismissed from Municipal Court.

Two new prosecutors were assigned to the case: Katherine Chappelear and Robert Letson.

Dunkle has no attorney of record, according to the Common Pleas Court entry.

Dunkle was indicted Friday, April 12, for two counts of murder and one count of tampering with evidence.

The murder counts are unclassified because prosecutors are addressing two different methods Dunkle allegedly carried out to commit the murder, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said.

If Dunkle is convicted, the murder charge would be either a first-degree or second-degree felony.

The charge of tampering with evidence prosecutors is a third-degree felony. Prosecutors allege Dunkle hid his mother's body in a closet.

"If convicted, Dunkle faces a potential sentence of 15 (years) to life on the (single) murder count and three years on the tampering count," O'Brien said in a press release announcing the indictment.

Police arrested Dunkle April 2 at Doctors Hospital after he confessed that he strangled his mother, Hilliard police said.

Dunkle was found unconscious and unresponsive April 1 on a bed in the townhome at 2596 Westham Way in the Hilliard Summit apartment complex, police said.

At the same time, officers discovered Menendez' body.

At his arraignment April 3 in Municipal Court, Franklin County Prosecutor Assistant Marla Farbacher told the court that Dunkle strangled his mother Friday, March 29, hid her body in a closet and then drove her car to the Chillicothe area, where records indicate Menendez and Dunkle, a son from her first marriage, once resided.

Dunkle returned to Hilliard and apparently attempted suicide by taking pills and consuming alcohol, prosecutors said.

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