UPDATE: Ja’Ron Nero, 23, ran from police on New Year’s Day. He alluded the officers who were pursuing him following a domestic disturbance and disappeared. In the weeks after, Nero’s family blamed police for his disappearance. Now his body has been found close to where he disappeared.
Nero was found Monday, submerged in the creek near where he disappeared. He was found by the fire department as they performed a sweep of Nimishillen creek in Canton, Ohio.
When Nero was confronted by police on January 1, he ran. He scaled a fence outside of an apartment complex and continued toward the creek. Before his discovery Monday, his family members blamed the police for not finding him.
“So are family members who say law enforcement isn’t trying hard enough to find him and he’s likely in danger, hurt or even dead,” The Canton Rep. writes.
“We just want him found. Dead or alive,” Nero’s aunt, Lashawn Ajamu of Cleveland, told reporters. “My main concern is, they had all these police officers chasing him and they even had a police dog…. How did they allow him to get out of their sight? Where were their body cameras?”
The officer pursuing Nero was wearing a body camera, though the distance between the two grew as Nero ran.
Nero “was involved in a fight with his children’s mother and another man at an apartment,” the paper notes. When police arrived, Nero bolted.
For a short part of the pursuit, the officer was within shouting distance. He ordered Nero to stop, but Nero did not. He ran and scaled a fence and headed to a wooded area beside Nimishillen Creek.
Police quickly surrounded the area on both sides of the creek.
“Did he cross?” one officer asked on the radio.
“Negative. He’s in the treeline.” Another responds.
“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,” another echoes.
When the officers couldn’t find him, they called in dogs. The dogs were unable to pick up Nero’s sent, suggesting that he might have entered the creek.
“Nero’s mother filed a missing person’s report Jan. 14, two weeks after the incident,” the paper notes. “She told officers she had not seen her son since Christmas Day. She also cited ‘police negligence and misconduct,’ according to the report.”
The officers, though, continued to search the area for Nero and found his submerged body, Monday.
“We searched the entire area of Nimishillen Creek in the southeast part of the city near Cherry Avenue, Sherrick and the surrounding wooded area around the creek with negative results,” Capt. Dave Davis said, originally. The fast moving waters of the creek and cold temperatures prevented them from doing a more in-depth search of the creek’s bottom.
“It could be a lot of things,” his aunt said. “We know that he was being chased by the police. … When do the police stop chasing someone? He did not have a weapon, he did not have a gun … From what we were told, again, the police did not look for him.”
“Up until today the family has felt like no one was taking this seriously,” Abraham Bonowitz, a family friend told reporters. “That they just gave up the chase on Jan. 1 is puzzling. Nobody has heard from Ja’Ron since.”
“The family has a lot of fear that he got into the water. We think someone needs to take a boat down the creek, all the way to Dover Dam if necessary.”
It now seems that those fears were correct. In his attempt to evade capture, he either fell into or jumped into the creek.