Interviews with Monica Lemen’s family and friends led investigators to a mobile home in Fairfield, Ohio. Based on these interviews, detectives put a search warrant together and served the warrant on Wednesday, February 18 at a residence located in the Debbie Mobile Home Park, 124 Sammy Drive. The trailer belonged to John Fryman, 24, who, according to Lemen’s friends, had been seen in the company of the young woman. It was reported by those who knew the pair that the two shared an interest in the occult. Police serving the warrant were taken aback at the scene they discovered. “In one of the bedrooms, the walls, the ceilings, the floor, everything is painted black,” Fairfield Police Detective Eddie Roberts told reporters. “He’s got a table made like a podium and on top of the podium is a granite headstone. There are all kinds of black candles. There’s a name on the headstone and it’s a legitimate headstone.” Roberts also noted that satanic literature was found in the trailer. Investigators discovered red stains that had been smeared on the floor of the room, a room they described as a satanic worship area. Detectives speculated the stains could be blood and that an effort had been made to clean up the area. Hoping to determine whether a crime had been committed at the location, evidence gathered at the scene was sent to the Hamilton County Forensics Lab for testing. Other items seized during the search included a ceramic goat’s head, nine figurines, a book of magic and an animal’s jawbone. Police searched for a circular power saw but were unable to find one. They did, however, retrieve a butcher knife, a handsaw and a hacksaw.
Investigators were adamant in their belief that Monica Lemen was not killed as part of a satanic ritual. But there can be no doubt that occult involvement on the part of both Lemen and Fryman is what led friends and family members to suspect Fryman, and formed much of the basis for the search of his trailer. According to the search warrant application, a friend of Lemen’s said Lemen told her Fryman had threatened to kill Lemen the previous November after a satanic rite performed in his mobile home. The application states Lemen told the friend she “witnessed (Fryman) kill an owl during a satanic ritual in which he drained the blood on a sacrificial altar. When Monica protested, he stated he could kill her, dismember her and paint the walls with her blood if she ever made him mad. Monica told (the friend) that if anything ever happened to her John Fryman would be responsible.” The search warrant application also stated that Fryman’s parents told police their son was a devil worshiper.
Despite this information, investigators continued to deny a link between Fryman’s apparent occult interests and the death of Monica Lemen. “We’re not going to guess on motives. There’s no evidence that any satanic ritual was involved in this homicide,” said Lt. William Fletcher, chief of the Cincinnati police homicide squad. However, behind the denials to the press, investigators were taking seriously the apparent connections to the occult. Officials in Indiana, where the severed legs were discovered, had been investigating occult activity in the area for the previous two years. Reports of mutilated animals in fields, dead animals hung upside down in trees and pentagrams painted on road signs had been given by local conservation officers among others, according to Fayette County Sheriff George Zimmerman. However, investigation into the incidents failed to make any connection to satanists. “We’ve been doing some checking, but we haven’t been able to put our finger on anything,” said Zimmerman. “We can’t find out where they’re having meetings.” Additionally, investigators interviewed a parapsychologist and demonology researcher to see if any connections could be drawn between the severed legs and the items discovered in Fryman’s trailer. Parapsychologist and witchcraft researcher Tim Patrie was skeptical that the trailer was home to “a dedicated satanist,” but rather the occupant probably had an interest in demonology. “A lot of people claim to be devil worshippers, but they don’t know what they’re doing. You’re not going to find a true satanic church in a trailer court,” said Patrie. Patrie did say, however, that he believed a true coven of 13 satanists was operating in the area where the legs were discovered, adding that the satanists tend to practice their rituals in remote areas away from their homes and mark their territory with satanic symbols on road signs.
Even as Fryman eluded authorities, a clearer picture was beginning to develop concerning the strange occupant of 124 Sammy Drive. Neighbors at the Debbie Mobile Home Park described Fryman and his live-in girlfriend, Beverly Cox, as friendly and approachable, but hadn’t seen the pair for a week and had never noticed anything unusual at the location. According to police, Fryman’s parents were divorced and the young man “floated around Cincinnati,” staying with one or the other parent. “We think he attended Mount Healthy High School, but quit,” said Detective Roberts. Reporters learned that Fryman had worked as an orderly at Cottingham Retirement Community in Sharonville, but walked off the job the previous November. “He was always very attentive to residents’ needs,” said the executive director. But Fryman also had a troubled past. Until May 1986, he had resided at the Lebanon Correctional Facility where he served a five to fifteen year sentence for three counts of robbery. He was paroled after just three years. Lebanon visitation records show that Fryman was mostly visited by family members. However, one other individual signed in five times to chat with the budding occultist. That person was Monica Lemen.
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Dayton Daily News
The Indianapolis Star
The Indianapolis News
The Star Press (Muncie, Indiana)
The Brookville Democrat
Franklin County Historical Society