PAULDING, Ohio (WTVN) -- Crews working to clean out the basement of the old Paulding County Jail for a haunted walk came across an old shoe. They didn't think much of it until a local newspaper reporter came by for an interview.
Jeff Hollis, who owns All Trades Historical Restoration and bought the building, told the reporter of the discovery. She remembered a cold case murder from 1960 and told him the evidence had gone missing decades ago. Hollis and family of 14-year old Nancy Eagleson believe the shoe and what appears to be a scarf belonged to the girl.
"We're pretty proud that we found it," said Hollis noting that it was behind walls an in a narrow area of the basement. "They had intentions to get it back there and get it out of the way, let's put it that way."
Some people speculate the evidence went missing on purpose and point to corruption in the sheriff's office back in the 1960s.
Sheriff Jason Landers isn't sure the shoe fits. He says it would be tough to match the shoe to the case due to the condition it is in, but it's even tougher because of the way it was handled.
"By the time I got over there there were probably 10 people or better there that had apparently viewed the shoe. Sounds like several people touched the shoe and took pictures of the shoe," he said.
He called in agents from the Ohio Bureau of Investigation to go through the area to see if they could find additional evidence. Hollis says agents left with several items, but he didn't know what they were.
Landers says they didn't find anything else that would lead them to believe that someone buried evidence there 40 years ago. However, he's not saying the shoe is definitely not connected to the cold case.
"There's enough of the shoe left and with the crime scene photos and just doing a quick comparison that I can't tell you it is not the shoe, you know at this point I would be surprised if it is," he said.
He says the curvature of the heel is the same on the found shoe and those seen in crime scene photos.
Hollis says they decided to delay the haunted tours a week out of respect for the family, however he says they gave him the green light to go forward with the event.
(Photo courtesy All Trades Historical Restoration)