WILMINGTON — “I see a light at the end of the tunnel in this case,” said Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck Friday morning.
It was decided in the case against alleged kidnapping suspect Dennis Dunn of Blanchester there will be a final pretrial hearing on Jan. 2, before a four-day jury trial scheduled for Feb. 25 in the Clinton County Common Pleas Court.
Dunn, currently held in the Clinton County Jail on a $25,000 bond, faces two charges of felony 1 kidnapping and three counts of felony 3 abduction in regard to allegedly kidnapping his neighbor, Jennifer Elliott, on April 26, 2017 in Blanchester.
Elliott was reported missing by her mother, Gayle Rowe, at 1:30 a.m. April 26, 2017 after she arrived home from work and couldn’t find her. Elliott and her son were living with Rowe at the time of the incident.
Blanchester police say the found Elliott in a pit dug out of a shed in Dunn’s backyard around 4 a.m. after Rowe reported she heard crying in the shed.
The pit was approximately three-and-a-half feet deep and two feet in diameter, and covered with wood and heavy objects to hold the wood down, according to Blanchester Police Chief Scott Reinbolt.
When Elliott was rescued she appeared to be having a seizure and was transported to Clinton Memorial Hospital. Dunn was arrested and charged with kidnapping that morning.
During a preliminary hearing on May 2017, Elliott testified she thought she “was going to die” and recalled that Dunn had said, “You’re mine” and “I love you.”
Dunn was indicted in Clinton County Common Pleas Court on May 5, 2017. Dunn had since pled not guilty by reason of insanity.
James Hartke, Dunn’s attorney, appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court to have the case dismissed. The court declined to review it on Sept. 26.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574