Summit County family turns to Facebook to generate leads in 1972 murder of Kathy Wiltrout Bevington

AKRON, Ohio - More than four decades have passed since Kathy Wiltrout Bevington, a fun-loving, married mother of two, was viciously murdered.

Her killer has never been found, but Kathy's family refuses to give up their quest for justice.

Relatives recently set up a Facebook page spelling out the details of the 1972 high-profile crime, while also asking the public for any fresh leads.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the page had more than 200 likes and several comments from people who remember the case.

Kathy's niece, Michelle Porter, was just 10 months old when the murder happened and bears a striking resemblance to Kathy.

"It's definitely a daily reminder that this is unsolved for the family. It's unsettled for the family... It's a weird place to be in. It's a weird place to look in the mirror sometimes," Porter said.

Wearing a white and red striped dress, Kathy went to work on Oct. 4, 1972 at the Massillon Road Pharmacy in Springfield Township.

Her husband, Jay Bevington, reported her missing that evening. He had returned from work to find his two children, ages eight and nine, at their Franklin Township home, but not Kathy.

Kathy's brother, James Wiltrout, said the disappearance was baffling, as she appeared to vanish from the store, leaving behind her purse, keys and car.

"That's part of the mystery. How did they get her out of there? What happened? We don't know," Wiltrout said.

A pharmacist, Al Smith, reported seeing Kathy in the store around 11:30 a.m. Around that time, he also noticed Kathy talking to a man who had sandy colored hair and appeared to be in his 20s.

After Smith waited on a customer, he realized Kathy was no longer in the pharmacy.

On Nov. 15, 1972, a deer hunter discovered Kathy's body near a wooded area off Kreighbaum Road in the city of Green. She had been stabbed multiple times.

Her family holds onto 42-year-old faded newspaper articles, and over the years they've discussed possible theories. Did she know her killer or was this a random abduction and murder?

"It speaks of emotion and rage, or of someone who is psycho," Wiltrout said.

He says the family is praying the Facebook page will generate valuable tips and eventually bring the family closure.

Porter plans to keep a close watch on the page knowing one social media tip could be the key to solving the cold case.

"42 years ago, they didn't have computers and social networks where you could get on and send something out and have it go viral," she said.

Kathy's final resting place is Mount Peace Cemetery in Akron, but her family said she will never really find peace until her killer is captured.

"How can you rest if you died like this?" Wiltrout said.

Anyone with information on the murder is asked to call Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-COPS. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $2,000.

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