Westerville News & Public Opinion

Police beat

Westerville: Coronor rules out foul play in man's death at hotel

Homicide has been ruled out after a man was found dead in a Westerville hotel room at the Red Roof Inn, 909 S. State St., Westerville police reported.

On the afternoon of May 14, it was reported that someone was passed out in one of the rooms, police said.

Officers responded shortly after and found Columbus resident Joseph A. Wooden, 54, dead in the room.

Preliminary autopsy results from Franklin County Coroner Jan Gorniak ruled out foul play as the cause of death. The investigation into the cause of his death is ongoing, police reports said.

In other recent incident reports from the Westerville Division of Police:

• A woman was leaving Big Lots, 60 E. Schrock Road, on the morning of May 15, when she was approached by an unknown suspect.

The woman said she felt the man's fingers on her back, and he said, "You're not going anywhere." She screamed and the man fled on foot immediately.

She described the man as black with short hair, about 5-foot-10. He wore a gray hooded sweatshirt.

Officers responded but were were unable to locate the suspect, reports said.

• The owner of an apartment in the first block of Lancelot Lane returned to the building May 10 to find his refrigerator sitting outside, he told police.

The apartment had been vacant since the beginning of the month, but the refrigerator was in the living room of the apartment when the owner last was there.

The front door of the apartment was left open, but there were no signs of forced entry or of anything else missing.

Previous renters of the apartment told police they had returned both sets of keys to the building, and neighbors said they had not seen anything suspicious.

Police have no suspects, and are taking no further action.

• A homeowner in the 100 block of Steffan Court reported May 11 that four lawn chairs were stolen from her backyard sometime between May 9 and 11.

The yard is fenced in with a locked shed, and the chairs, valued at about $110, were leaning against the outside of the shed when they were last seen.