Body of Canton Man Who'd Been Missing After a Jan. 1 Police Chase Recovered in Creek


  • Ja'Ron Nero/Family Photo

The body of 23-year-old Ja'Ron Nero was recovered from the Nimishillen Creek in Canton on Monday about three quarters of a mile away from where he was last seen on Jan. 1 as he fled police after a domestic incident involving another man and woman at an apartment complex. Police say no foul play is suspected.

The three-plus week wait was agonizing for his family who had been asking for authorities to do a boat search of the Nimishillen since it was in the area where Nero had hopped a fence during the pursuit.

In body camera footage obtained by the Canton Repository, an officer is captured on police radio responding to someone asking if Nero had crossed the creek by saying, “I seriously doubt he went into the water. It’s pretty high and running fast. We’re on the north side of the creek. (We’ll) see if we can get eyes on him.”

Multiple searches involving dozens of officers and police dogs ensued in the following days, covering up to 100 acres, according to the Repository. Family members and friends also organized their own search party.

“We just want him found. Dead or alive,” his aunt Lashawn Ajamu told the paper after a missing persons report was filed and before his body was recovered. “My main concern is, they had all these police officers chasing him and they even had a police dog ..."

Family members told the paper they didn't think the police did enough in the initial days and that they were left confused why they abandoned the search the first night. Nero was unarmed at the time. A family friend also told the paper they feared from the very start that Nero had entered the water despite the frigid temperatures and fast flow.

Ajamu is the wife of Kwame Ajamu, one of the three Cleveland men who were exonerated in 2015 after being wrongly convicted of murder some four decades earlier. 

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