Produced by Liza Finley, Richard Fetzer and Atticus Brady
[This story was originally broadcast on October 19, 2019. It was updated on June 6, 2020.]
Heather Bogle was 28 when she left the Sandusky County, Ohio, Whirlpool plant and headed out after an overnight shift. The single mother then vanished and was later found a mile away from the plant brutally murdered and left in the trunk of her car.
Her murder began a year-long investigation in which the lead detective was accused of tampering with evidence as he pursued three innocent people while the real killer walked free.
One of Detective Sean O’Connell’s suspects was a woman who lived near where Heather’s body was found…But O’Connell ignored exculpatory evidence, says Sandusky County Sheriff Chris Hilton.
“He attempted to indict people for murder that had absolutely nothing to do with it,” Hilton tells CBS News chief investigative and senior national correspondent Jim Axelrod.
Before it was over, the detective would find himself behind bars. It would take a dedicated sheriff to find a real suspect.
“I knew it was a solvable case. I just knew it had to be done right,” says Hilton. “I said we are going to open this up to the point where it just happened. Every lead, every person, everybody is a suspect until we can eliminate them. And that’s what we did.”
A SAVAGE KILLING
Sheriff Chris Hilton: A lot of times in law enforcement, we look at things and we try not to see them for what they are. … It’s almost as if it’s not real.
But this one was different says Sandusky County Sheriff Chris Hilton. What they found inside the trunk of Heather Bogle’s car was painfully real.
Jim Axelrod: What did they find in the trunk?
Sheriff Chris Hilton: They found a beautiful, young woman who had been savagely beaten and murdered.
That beautiful young woman was Heather Bogle.
Sheriff Chris Hilton When you know what she looked like when you saw the pictures of her and to see what was in the trunk of the car it was as if they were two completely different things. And when you look at that kind of stuff, it — it sinks in. It hits home.
Her wounds told a harrowing story of torture and grit, says prosecutor Tim Braun.
Prosecutor Tim Braun: Unbelievably awful.
Prosecutor Tim Braun: A lot of defensive wounds on the hand from blocking, bringing her hands up, protecting.
Jim Axelrod: What did that tell you?
Prosecutor Tim Braun: Told me she had fought, that she was physically overpowered by someone, beaten down and then handcuffed.
Jim Axelrod: Cause of death?
Prosecutor Tim Braun: Two shots to the back, penetrating vital organs in her chest.
Heather’s body was placed in the trunk of her car curled up in a semi-fetal position, wearing an oversized Mickey Mouse T-shirt.
Prosecutor Tim Braun: Looked like it had been posed to create a certain effect. Her hands were coiled up. It looked like a child sleeping to some degree.
Heather’s hair had been chopped off at the scalp.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: Imagine taking like a pocket knife and … just picking it up and chopping it off.
And her fingernails cut down to the cuticles — possibly her murderer’s attempt to destroy DNA, says Braun.
Prosecutor Tim Braun: So, somebody had cleaned her up extremely carefully after she died.
Jim Axelrod: Who would want to do this to her?
Prosecutor Tim Braun: A psychopath.
Shocked, frightened, and grief-struck, the locals turned out in droves — demanding justice for Heather Bogle and holding benefits for her 5-year-old daughter McKenzie.
Jim Axelrod: The woman who walks out of the Whirlpool factory at 6:17 a.m., Heather Bogle, who is she?
Sheriff Chris Hilton: A 28-year-old single mother who worked hard at that factory to provide a wonderful life for her daughter. She was well-liked.
With dreams for a better life. Heather had just finished nursing school.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: She wanted something better than working at Whirlpool … not that Whirlpool’s bad … But she wanted some more for herself and for her daughter.
But the days leading up to her death were fraught with tension. She had just failed her nursing board exams and was in the midst of an ugly breakup. For the past year, Heather had been involved in her first same-sex relationship, with a woman she met at Whirlpool, Carmella Badillo. But they’d just had a big blowup.
Jim Axelrod: There had been threats made, hadn’t there been?
Sheriff Chris Hilton Yeah, there had been. Yes, the text messages and the phone calls and some of the exchanges were very, very nasty.
Lead Detective Sean O’Connell says Badillo was one of the first people he looked at.
Det. Sean O’Connell: There was some type of a verbal altercation between Heather and her girlfriend Carmella that Wednesday. Heather goes in to work on Wednesday evening and leaves work Thursday morning not to be seen.
But after examining Badillo’s phone records and speaking to her several times, O’Connell determined Carmella was not the killer.
Jim Axelrod: You are comfortable ruling her out?
Det. Sean O’Connell: Absolutely.
He was not so quick to rule out Keyona Bor, a single mother who lived in the apartment complex where Heather’s car and body were discovered.
Jim Axelrod: Is it fair to say that your interactions with Keyona Bor, early on, raised your suspicion about her?
Det. Sean O’Connell: Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, from her demeanor, from her reluctancy, not wanting to talk to us … absolutely.
But even more than that, it was that Mickey Mouse shirt on Heather Bogle’s body.
Det. Sean O’Connell: There are some speculation that the shirt that was found on Heather Bogle … again it’s a red XL Mickey Mouse type T-shirt … Keyona Bor was seen to be wearing that same type of T-shirt.
And he says her Facebook postings read like a confession, as referenced in the police report.
Det. Sean O’Connell: Keyona is making statements on her Facebook page that I can’t believe what happened, just happened.
O’Connell says she makes mention in another post about doing 8 to 10 years for murder and pleading insanity.
Jim Axelrod: The day Heather disappears.
Det. Sean O’Connell: The day that she disappeared, yes, April 9, 2015.
He says he became even more suspicious when he learned that Omar Satchel – a man who served time on home invasion and firearms charges – was in Keyona’s apartment the night Heather’s body was found.
Jim Axelrod: Omar Satchel very quickly becomes a person of interest to you.
Det. Sean O’Connell: He did.
Jim Axelrod: Why?
Det. Sean O’Connell: Because of his involvement as far as being on in the vicinity of the time of her body being discovered.
O’Connell believed Omar knew Heather – that he sometimes sold her pot. But even more importantly, O’Connell says he found a link between Omar Satchell and what possibly could have been the gun used to kill Heather.
Det. Sean O’Connell: During the course of my investigation, I find out that Omar may have stolen a small caliber-type firearm.
Neither the gun nor the bullets were ever found, but O’Connell claims a source told him that a third accomplice – a friend of Omar’s named Kayree Jeffrey, dumped the murder weapon.
Det. Sean O’Connell: So according to my source who was standing next to Kayree … Kayree walked up along the river banks and tossed his black bag containing the firearm used in a homicide into the river, which ultimately prompt us to launch a dive team into the river in hopes to recover the bag.
Jim Axelrod: Came up empty.
Det. Sean O’Connell: Came up empty.
Jim Axelrod: So, what would the three of these people have as a motive to kill Heather Bogle?
Det. Sean O’Connell: I don’t know what their motive would have been.
O’Connell didn’t have enough to arrest them but continued building his murder case against the three — a case newspaperman Matt Westerhold was watching with interest. He and his paper had a long history reporting on the detective.
Matt Westerhold | Managing editor, Sandusky Register: We were concerned because we didn’t believe Detective O’Connell could conduct a legitimate investigation.
Westerhold had just found his next big story.
Jim Axelrod: Was this bad police work or was he a bad cop?
Matt Westerhold: There was both.
A FIGHT FOR THE TRUTH
There was Keyona Bor before Heather Bogle’s murder.
Keyona Bor: Got a house for me and my kids, got a good job at a nursing home, and everything was going real smooth.
And then there is Keyona Bor now.
Keyona Bor: So, it’s like the dark cloud that’s always over my head.
Jim Axelrod: And who put that dark cloud over your head?
Keyona Bor: Sean O’Connell.
Keyona says Detective O’Connell targeted her from the night Heather Bogle’s body was found — raiding her apartment …
Keyona Bor [pointing to a dumpster outside the apartment]: They went out of their way to throw all of our pictures in the trash …
… and storming the nursing home where she worked with a warrant for her DNA.
Keyona Bor: I’m wheeling a resident … out the dining room to go get him ready for bed and … the whole — all the detectives, the police come in there, guns out.
Jim Axelrod: And they had their guns drawn?
Keyona Bor: Yes.
O’Connell publicly named Keyona a suspect. She lost her job, her apartment, and her reputation.
Keyona Bor: I had to keep my son outta school … I have people in my inbox telling me I’m a monster … me and my kids deserve to die and all type of stuff because what he told the newspaper, and the newspaper put out there.
Keyona says she was an easy target: poor, black, and voiceless. She says O’Connell never even asked her if she had an alibi.
Keyona Bor: He never did that because he wasn’t interested in ruling me out. He was just interested in making me guilty.
Jim Axelrod: He was trying to find facts that would fit his theory that you were involved?
Keyona Bor: Correct.
Keyona had several run-ins with Sean O’Connell before. He helped put her ex-boyfriend in prison for a mandatory 10 years on a drug charge. She says that’s what she was talking about in her Facebook post that O’Connell found so incriminating.
Keyona Bor: The only reason why I posted about the 8 to 10 years is because I was upset that my child’s father just got 10 years mandatory for his first drug offense.
Jim Axelrod: Here he is doing 10 years for a drug offense and there’re people who get 8 to 10 for murder by pleading insanity. That’s what you were posting?
Keyona Bor: Correct.
Jim Axelrod: And it didn’t have anything to do —
Keyona Bor: Nothing at all.
Jim Axelrod: — with Heather Bogle?
Keyona Bor: No.
And that Mickey Mouse shirt found on Heather’s body? The one he insinuated belonged to Keyona?
Jim Axelrod: Was it your shirt?
Keyona Bor: No. … I only owned one Mickey Mouse hoodie. Well, sweatshirt. In my life.
Jim Axelrod: So, it’s a sweatshirt not a T-shirt? You don’t own a T-shirt?
Keyona Bor: No.
Jim Axelrod: Were you involved in the death of Heather Bogle?
Keyona Bor: No.
Jim Axelrod: Did you cover up, have any role in covering up Heather Bogle’s death?
Keyona Bor: No.
Desperate to clear her name, Keyona contacted Matt Westerhold, managing editor of the Sandusky Register.
Matt Westerhold: I’ve never had a criminal suspect come to me and say, “Hey I’m being targeted by police for a murder I didn’t commit.” That’s never happened.
He quickly came to believe O’Connell was framing her.
Matt Westerhold: If you interview Keyona Bor she’s very believable and it seemed obvious that, you know, she didn’t know anything about this.
Westerhold had been covering Sean O’Connell and his then-boss, former Sheriff Eric Overmyer, for years, publishing numerous reports accusing them of corruption and incompetence.
Jim Axelrod: One headline that … the paper ran — the headline is … “Sheriff Overmyer and Detective O’Connell have a history botching high-profile cases.”
Matt Westerhold: Right.
Jim Axelrod: Fair headline?
Matt Westerhold: Yeah, absolutely … We probably documented a half dozen different cases where the families involved, you know, were complaining bitterly about how they were treated by law enforcement. … and there was no doubt in my mind that they were botching these investigations.
Westerhold featured Keyona’s story on his webcast several times:
MATT WESTERHOLD: Do you consider yourself a victim of Detective O’Connell’s?
KEYONA BOR: I very much do.
He was determined to keep the pressure on O’Connell.
Matt Westerhold: We like to say that’s who we are that’s what we do … In this case we turned out to be a consistent, persistent watchdog that didn’t give up.
Despite the public scrutiny, O’Connell spent a year and two months pursuing his theory that Keyona, Omar, and Kayree acted together to kill Heather Bogle – even in the face of strong scientific evidence to the contrary. Authorities found DNA under Heather’s cuticle they believed was left by her killer.
Jim Axelrod: But it didn’t come back as Omar Satchel’s.
Det. Sean O’Connell: It did not.
Jim Axelrod: Didn’t come back as Keyona Bor’s?
Det. Sean O’Connell: It did not.
Jim Axelrod: Didn’t come back as Kayree Jeffery’s?
Det. Sean O’Connell: It did not.
Jim Axelrod: So, the fact that the DNA under her fingernails does not belong to any of those three, doesn’t rule them out in your mind?
Det. Sean O’Connell: It does not.
But in his report to the prosecutor seeking an indictment, O’Connell didn’t even mention that the DNA did not match — an omission that would soon come out in the open. Just one week later, Detective O’Connell was taken off the case and placed on leave.
Matt Westerhold: I knew the end was coming … He was forced to resign …
He wasn’t the only one in trouble. Sheriff Overmyer was arrested and sent to prison for stealing drugs.
Jim Axelrod: Sounds to me like law enforcement in the Sandusky County Sheriff’s Department not in tip top shape between Overmyer and O’Connell.
Matt Westerhold: Well, yeah. If your sheriff who is the lead officer of your criminal drug task force has an addiction problem, you’ve got problems.
O’Connell’s Bogle file was handed over to the State Bureau of Investigation. What they discovered was not only shocking says Chris Hilton, who took over as sheriff — it was criminal.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: He attempted to indict people for murder that had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Jim Axelrod: Is this a case of a cop being overly ambitious? … Is this racism? Or is this incompetence?
Sheriff Chris Hilton: Anything I could say would be pure speculation.
Jim Axelrod: Nobody knows the case better than you. What do you think?
Sheriff Chris Hilton: I’m going to say it’s a little combination of everything you just said.
Newly-elected Sandusky County Prosecutor Tim Braun agreed. He opened a criminal investigation that led to O’Connell’s arrest and Indictment on four felony charges.
Prosecutor Tim Braun … he lied. He falsified police reports. He tampered with evidence. He tried to make a case that he didn’t have, and he tried to push it through.
O’Connell was charged with misleading a public official and destroying, concealing, and tampering with evidence.
Jim Axelrod: You’re looking at some serious charges.
Sean O’Connell: I’m looking at some very serious charges.
Jim Axelrod: Did you mishandle evidence?
Sean O’Connell: Absolutely not.
Jim Axelrod: Do you knowingly make false statements?
Sean O’Connell: Absolutely not.
Jim Axelrod: Alter, destroy, conceal, or remove evidence?
Sean O’Connell: Of course not.
Jim Axelrod: So, where they are getting it from?
Det. Sean O’Connell: They are getting it from speculation.
That’s not how Chris Hilton sees it.
Jim Axelrod: Was there any reason to focus on Keyona Bor?
Sheriff Chris Hilton: After the first day or two, I would say no. She had nothing to do with it.
And neither, he says, did Omar Satchel or Kayree Jeffrey. The BCI investigation showed the three suspects never knew Heather, never met Heather, never sold her pot. But Sean O’Connell still stands behind his investigation, right or wrong.
Jim Axelrod: So, you can be wrong, but that doesn’t mean you had tunnel vision?
Sean O’Connell: I could be. Detectives are wrong all the time.
Jim Axelrod: You were just wrong.
Sean O’Connell: I’m not even here to say that I’m wrong because the investigation — I never had the opportunity to close out.
That job fell to the new sheriff, and he wasn’t going to stop until he got it right.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: I knew it was a solvable case. I just knew it had to be done right. … I said we are going to open this up to the point where it just happened. Every lead, every person, everybody is a suspect until we can eliminate them. And that’s what we did.
ZEROING IN ON A SUSPECT
Heather Bogle had been dead for nearly two years when Sheriff Hilton and his team took over the investigation. They had no clue who killed her but were positive it was not a random killing.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: We felt that whoever did this had something personal against Heather.
Someone she’d just had a huge fight with. Someone who’d written her an angry note found in the car where she lay dead in the trunk. Someone like Heather’s ex -girlfriend, Carmella Badillo.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: To me she would be a logical person to investigate. … I mean, again when you look at the condition with which Heather was found, there was passion and anger in what — whoever did that.
Badillo, who’d been quickly cleared by O’Connell, went straight to the top of Hilton’s suspect list. She was brought in for questioning:
OFFICER: So, you guys are basically —?
CARMELLA BADILLO: I was done.
OFFICER: Sounds like she was done, too.
CARMELLA BADILLO: The last month I’ll agree with everybody, it was f——-g horrible. It was rocky. It was — you didn’t know what was going to happen next.
But the sheriff would soon rule out Badillo when he found a new suspect. Investigators started digging through Heather’s social media and Gmail accounts. And suddenly, there it was. Stored in Heather’s GPS records by Google, an electronic trail of coordinates showing Heather’s exact movements from the moment she left work at 6:17 a.m.
Jim Axelrod: Is this your aha moment?
Sheriff Chris Hilton: Absolutely … we had something we could at least say definitively. This is where she went after she left work that morning.
At 6:30 a.m. – 13 minutes after leaving work, Heather’s phone GPS places her in a trailer home a few miles from the Whirlpool plant.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: We find out later that day it belongs to Daniel Myers. Who is Daniel Myers? We have no idea at the time. We find out very quickly that Daniel Myers worked with Heather … We find out that he worked with her that night. We find out that he left approximately the same time that morning … That’s when we went “Aha. We got something.”
Investigators knocked on Daniel Myers’ door.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: He was cooperative but not overly … he kind of distanced himself from knowing Heather.
They recorded their conversation:
INVESTIGATOR: Did you know her at all?
DANIEL MYERS: Very, very little. Very little. Just more — Very … I mean very limited conversation.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: One of the things he says that … really makes the hairs stand up … Like why are you still investigating this? Is what he’s asking. Like this is done. It’s over with, it’s been two years.
DANIEL MYERS: I guess it’s a little odd that, you know, you guys are … I know it’s cold case and you guys are just, you know, grasping at straws trying to figure out.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: When I listened to it, I was like, “Oh my God, this might be our guy. This might be our guy.” And then the clincher was at the end of that interview, they asked for a DNA sample.
DANIEL MYERS: I’m gonna to pass on that. I didn’t really know the girl or anything like that.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: He is the first person that said no.
Investigators returned two days later with a warrant for his DNA, to match it against the DNA found under Heather’s cuticle.
INVESTIGATOR: We got a search warrant for your DNA.
DANIEL MYERS: OK.
INVESTIGATOR: So, what we wanted you to do is to be a little more forthcoming to help us narrow this thing down because, you know what? We’re narrowing it down.
DANIEL MYERS OK.
They got their sample. The results came back five days later.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: My major came into my office and he says, “Sheriff, that DNA belongs to Danny Myers.” I think we almost wanted to break into tears … It was like “we have him, we got him.”
They learned this man who said he barely knew Heather Bogle had contributed $125 and wrote a warm condolence note on her GoFundMe page and made sure people knew he was at Heather’s funeral.
Jim Axelrod: He signs the registry book at her funeral?
Sheriff Chris Hilton: Yes.
Prosecutor Tim Braun: It’s the kind of guy who’s trying to look normal. He’s trying not to do anything that would trigger in anybody’s mind that maybe Danny Myers is just a little different.
It turns out Daniel Myers had been hiding in plain sight all along. Shortly after Heather’s murder, a Whirlpool employee sent an email to Detective Sean O’Connell saying she knew someone capable of this crime.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: And she point-blank told us “I was going to tell him – I thought it was Daniel Myers.”
But O’Connell – already fixated on his three suspects – never followed up.
Jim Axelrod: If you would have worked the Whirlpool angle little harder, do you think Daniel Myers’ name might have surfaced?
Det. Sean O’Connell: I don’t know how we could have worked it any harder, I mean what more could we have done.
It didn’t take Sheriff Hilton very long to figure it out. Just five months after opening the new investigation, he and his team arrested the single father at a summer campground.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: The only thing that he ever said was, “Oh my God, they’re here to get me,” and then we took him into custody and that was pretty much the last thing he said to us.
INVESTIGATOR: I think you got a story to tell. And we’d like to hear it, OK?
DANIEL MYERS: Sure.
Searching the trailer, investigators never found the gun or bullets that killed Heather Bogle, but they did find damning evidence: new floorboards bought less than a week after her murder.
Jim Axelrod: Meaning what?
Sheriff Chris Hilton: Meaning we believe we found where she was murdered in his trailer.
Jim Axelrod: And he would have replaced the sub flooring because it was covered in blood?
Sheriff Chris Hilton: Blood. Possible bullet holes. Any number of reasons. You got to cover it up.
The trailer yielded other secrets.
Prosecutor Tim Braun: He liked to keep women’s underwear in his safe.
Slowly, they began piecing together a disturbing picture of a sexual predator — a man they say focused on control, domination and humiliation.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: He had videos of himself with women and other women … He was very disturbing when it comes to his sexual fetishes.
After Daniel Myers’ arrest, 10 women came forward saying he raped them.
Prosecutor Tim Braun: None of them went to the police beforehand and said … “this guy at the plant sexually attacked me in his trailer.” They were all embarrassed and ashamed by it.
Investigators say Myers picked women he thought would stay silent.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: And what better way to solidify that than to find ones that are vulnerable.
And Heather Bogle was vulnerable. She was reeling over her nasty breakup with Badillo, and, they learned from Myers, she was also upset over a text her brother sent calling her “too stupid” to pass her licensed practical nursing exam.
Jim Axelrod: And here’s Daniel Myers. “Come tell me all about it.”
Prosecutor Tim Braun: That’s right.
She went to his trailer, says Braun, expecting a friend — but finding a killer.
Prosecutor Tim Braun: I think it happened immediately as soon as she came in the door … I think he came onto her sexually. She probably immediately rejected him. I think he grabbed her. I think she punched him in the face. We know he had one cracked tooth and one broken tooth that he repaired with super glue. And then I think he physically overpowered her, beat her into submission, handcuffed her, beat her some more. Stripped her. Probably had her on the bed and we know that ’cause he ends up replacing his mattress at the end of the month after the homicide occurred. And I think he tortured her for a long time. And then I think he shot and killed her.
Jim Axelrod: Do you think Danny Myers could be a serial killer?
Prosecutor Tim Braun: I’ve always considered that a possibility and a relatively strong one.
HAS MYERS KILLED BEFORE?
Prosecutor Tim Braun has made a career of putting violent killers behind bars, and says Daniel Myers seems like pro.
Prosecutor Tim Braun: Most people, first time they kill somebody, they’re overcome with emotion. They do stupid things … Danny Myers rationally and meticulously attempted to cover this case up. That usually takes experience.
He seemed to have it down to a science says Braun — cutting down Heather’s fingernails and cleaning her body in an apparent attempt to remove DNA evidence.
Prosecutor Tim Braun: Have I dealt in the past with people who’ve attempted to destroy genetic material? Absolutely. And usually…
Jim Axelrod: Not their first rodeo.
Prosecutor Tim Braun: Not their first rodeo. … And they get good at covering up because they want to do it again. … And so, when I saw that, yeah. It raised a lot of questions in my mind.
Loriann Haley says if Tim Braun is looking for proof Daniel Myers killed before, he doesn’t need to look any further than her sister, Leigh Ann Sluder.
Jim Axelrod: You think your sister was murdered?
Loriann Haley: Yes.
Jim Axelrod: By Danny?
Loriann Haley: Yes.
Jim Axelrod: No question.
Loriann Haley: No question.
Leigh Ann was Daniel Myers’ ex-girlfriend and the mother of his son. Nearly six years before Heather Bogle’s death, Leigh Ann was found with a single gunshot to her chest. A crime scene photograph shows the.22 caliber rifle beside her. Authorities quickly ruled it a suicide.
Jim Axelrod: When you heard that word “suicide” —
Loriann Haley: No.
Jim Axelrod: No way?
Loriann Haley: No.
Loriann Haley: I just talked to her 12 hours prior. … There was no indication whatsoever that she was crying for help or giving me any signal.
Even more alarming, says Haley, is why Leigh Ann had a gun at all.
Loriann Haley: I knew my sister hated guns. … She would not allow to have a gun in her house.
Jim Axelrod: So that’s a giant red flag?
Loriann Haley: Yes. … He supposedly told investigators it was for her protection. I’m thinking to myself, “Protection from what?”
Daniel Myers admitted to giving the gun to Leigh Ann for her security, but Haley was skeptical of how her sister could use it to shoot herself in the chest with its long barrel and then leave it lying neatly next to her body.
Jim Axelrod: How could she do that with a rifle?
Loriann Haley: Yeah. Impossible.
Jim Axelrod: How could she reach the trigger?
Prosecutor Tim Braun: Well, that’s the issue.
A lot would remain unanswered, says Tim Braun.
Prosecutor Tim Braun: Leigh Ann Sluder suicide, in my opinion, was not a properly processed crime scene in the sense that it was not photographed well, evidence wasn’t collected. It wasn’t done correctly.
Matt Westerhold: So, if they had done gun residue tests on Daniel Myers’ hands in that 2009 investigation they would know, unequivocally, whether he had shot that weapon.
Jim Axelrod: That sounds like standard operating procedure.
Matt Westerhold: Right. Well, this is Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office and at that time it was not a professional agency.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: I believe the investigators at the time took Daniel at his word that she killed herself.
Jim Axelrod: Do you think if your sister’s death had been properly investigated, Heather Bogle would be alive?
Loriann Haley: Yes.
Jim Axelrod: You didn’t hesitate one bit.
Loriann Haley: No.
Investigators recently took another look at Leigh Ann’s death. They came to the same conclusion of suicide after determining Leigh Ann was physically able to reach the rifle’s trigger after all. An undated letter also surfaced. Authorities say it is her handwriting and reads like a suicide note: “All I ever wanted was to just die so that the hurt would stop.”
Daniel Myers’ relatives say they found the note in his home after his arrest.
Loriann Haley: I don’t believe it was fully authenticated … I don’t understand why he had it for so long … and then all of a sudden it pops up, case closed, done.
Loriann Haley: It’s just sad that the justice system wasn’t on our side … I know that he killed her, he knows it. The problem is, you can’t prove it.
Now, Haley is hoping to get justice for her sister through another victim’s case. If found guilty of killing Heather Bogle, Daniel Myers could be sentenced to death.
Jim Axelrod: And, in your view, your sister’s killer —
Loriann Haley: Yes.
Jim Axelrod: — would be executed.
Loriann Haley: Yes.
Jim Axelrod: Not just Heather Bogle’s killer.
Loriann Haley: It would be both. Yes.
Jim Axelrod: How strong a case do you have?
Prosecutor Tim Braun: In my experience we have a very, very good case.
Tim Braun had Myers’ DNA under Heather’s fingernail, the GPS records placing her at his trailer and his history of violence against women. But there was still one huge obstacle: Sean O’Connell.
Prosecutor Tim Braun: From a trial lawyer standpoint, it was a nightmare. It’s a nightmare because you have the original investigator pointing the finger at other people.
And that would provide a convenient alternate suspect theory for a defense attorney. So, before Daniel Myers could stand trial, the prosecutor believed Sean O’Connell would have to be discredited once and for all— officially ruling out his three suspects: Omar Satchel, Kayree Jeffrey and Keyona Bor.
Keyona Bor: I just hope what O’Connell did to us doesn’t affect Heather’s justice in convicting Daniel Myers.
And they were about to find out.
Sean O’Connell: Tomorrow at this time, I could be at a local county jail getting ready to be booked in. … I don’t want that to happen. I don’t think that should happen. I don’t think what I did warrants this to happen.
TWO CASES CLOSED
It was a stunning change of fortune. Sean O’Connell, once a detective charged with upholding the law, is now facing trial for breaking it. He’s accused of four felonies in connection to his Heather Bogle murder investigation, in which he focused on three innocent people. O’Connell remains defiant.
Jim Axelrod: Do you feel you owe Omar Satchel, Keyona Bor and Kayree Jeffery an apology?
Sean O’Connell: Why would I apologize? I mean if you look at — if you look …
Jim Axelrod: Because they didn’t do it.
Sean O’Connell: How do we know that for sure?
But the day his trial was set to begin, O’Connell finally admitted to a mistake. He pleaded guilty to one felony count: tampering with evidence by omitting the DNA results that excluded his three suspects.
Sean O’Connell: All I can do now is just kind of hope for the best not only for me, but for my family when it comes time for sentencing.
The former detective arrived at his sentencing hearing with his wife and family by his side, hoping for probation – but preparing for prison.
O’Connell addressed the court in a plea for leniency:
SEAN O’CONNELL [in court]: I wasn’t trying to purposely leave out anything. I was just trying to highlight what I had at that point.
Judge Patricia Cosgrove zeroed in on his failure to report the DNA results:
JUDGE COSGROVE: Why didn’t you include that?
SEAN O’CONNELL: You’re right Your Honor, I did not include it, and I take full responsibility for that. And for what it’s worth, I apologize for not doing that. But again, I did that because I was simply trying to give the prosecutor a feel on why I thought it was these three people.
One of those three people, Keyona Bor, finally got the chance to address the man she says ruined her life:
KEYONA BOR [in court]: I have lost time with my children, time with my family. I have lost friends. I have lost family. I have pretty much lost every single thing that I’ve had because of this man. And I am still trying to get it back.
After listening to all the testimony, Judge Cosgrove took a hard line.
JUDGE COSGROVE: I gave him some consideration for his 25 years of service, his military service, his volunteer work, but he has to go to prison. This has to send a message to other law enforcement officers. Hey, when you look at a case, look at all of it. … And when you present a case, present all of it. Today is the day of sentencing, take him into custody.
Sean O’Connell was sentenced to two years in state prison. The newspaper man who had covered O’Connell through the years – in this case and several others – was overwhelmed.
Jim Axelrod: This hits you deep.
Matt Westerhold [emotional]: The families. It was a moment of vindication for the families that he hurt. … ’cause he — he hurt them so bad and he could’ve — it would’ve been so easy to just do the right thing.
Jim Axelrod: Is Sean O’Connell where he should be? In prison?
Sheriff Chris Hilton: Anytime somebody that wears the same badge that I do gets in trouble, breaks the law, convicted of a crime, they need to pay for it. [Sighs] I believe he is where he should be.
With the O’Connell case resolved, Braun was finally ready to take on Daniel Myers in court.
Prosecutor Tim Braun: We had more than enough to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
But within days of the trial starting, Myers derailed the proceedings. He was found face down in his cell – dazed and incoherent — in what turned out to be a failed suicide attempt.
Prosecutor Tim Braun: Do I think he was trying to commit suicide? I think he was trying to create a medical emergency.
Jim Axelrod: Buy some time?
Prosecutor Tim Braun: Buy some time.
But time finally ran out. Daniel Myers chose to plead guilty rather than face the possibility of a death sentence:
JUDGE DEWEY: You understand that a plea of guilty is a complete admission of guilt.
DANIEL MYERS: Yes.
One-time suspect Carmella Badillo spoke directly to the man who tortured and killed her former girlfriend:
CARMELLA BADILLO [in court]: I want you to know that you took away a mother and a friend and a loved one that no one could ever get back. … And I want you to know, Daniel Myers, I do not forgive you. No one in this room can say that they forgive the devil.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: People … say, “Sheriff how could he do this, why would he do this to such a young, beautiful woman, what was he thinking?” And I would tell them … “This man is a monster.”
Daniel Myers will have a lot of time to think about what he has done. He’ll spend the rest of his days in prison with no chance of parole. After nearly four years, the people of this county finally saw justice.
Sheriff Chris Hilton: Sandusky County is a great place. … I think it’s a little better now. And I’m proud of that.
Heather Bogle’s memory will live on in the hearts and minds of the people of Sandusky County who are now free to remember the beautiful young mother she was … and imagine a life that could have been.