Teen points Ohio authorities to bodies of 2 brothers
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OTTAWA, Ohio — Two teenage brothers who had been reported missing were found dead after authorities were directed to their bodies by a third teen, who remained in police custody and was to appear in court Friday on a grand theft auto charge, officials said.
The three teens — 14-year-old Blaine Romes, 17-year-old Blake Romes and 17-year-old Michael Fay — lived together with their mothers inside a trailer home in Ottawa in northwest Ohio, neighbors said.
The teens had been the subject of an Amber Alert issued Thursday morning after a relative returned to the home and found a crime scene, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office said. A car also was reported missing from the trailer park.
Fay was taken into custody Thursday afternoon at a gas station in Columbus, about 115 miles away, after stopping to ask for directions, authorities said. He was driving the missing car, police said.
He was due in juvenile court Friday afternoon on a warrant for grand theft of a motor vehicle. He hadn't been charged with anything else. He couldn't be reached for comment because he was in custody.
Fay told officers that the Romes brothers were dead and gave the location of their bodies, according to the sheriff's office, which released few details about the case.
Putnam County Sheriff Mike Chandler said the bodies were found in different locations. He declined to give additional information on what happened, saying he was limited because those involved are juveniles.
Chandler said authorities were waiting for autopsies to be completed to determine the causes of the boys' deaths, which could come as soon as Friday.
Neighbors at the trailer park say the women who lived there both worked overnight shifts. Brad Bailey, who lives across the street, said he saw the women outside pacing back and forth for much of the day after the boys were reported missing Thursday. He said he had seen all three boys laughing and joking together in the past.
Classmates and friends mourned the brothers as news of their deaths spread through Ottawa, a village of 4,500 people south of Toledo.
The younger brother, Blaine, was supposed to join his classmates early Thursday on an eighth-grade class trip to Washington.
Kevin Brinkman, superintendent of Ottawa-Glandorf Schools, said the trip went ahead as scheduled. He said a steady stream of students had been meeting with counselors at the two schools the boys attended.
Blaine was on the basketball and track teams, Brinkman said.
Blake was a junior at Ottawa-Glandorf High School, where he was involved in track and choir, principal Jayson Selgo said Friday. The school has about 530 students, and word of his death traveled fast in the community.
"He was very well respected and liked by the students and faculty, as well. A very friendly kid," Selgo said.
Selgo said counselors were made available in the district for students and staff who might need help coping with the news.
"I think everyone is trying to get through this difficult time in their own way," he said.
The school posted a notice on its website Friday saying "our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Blake and Blaine."
Selgo said Fay did not attend the high school.
The trailer park, surrounded by farm fields on the edge of the village, has a mix of well-kept trailers with neatly trimmed yards and other lots that are overgrown. The trailer where the families live has weeds growing in the flower bed, broken blinds and an autographed football in the window. In the back, there's a motorcycle parked in a shed and a smashed barbecue grill lid and other discarded items on the ground.
Angela Weber, who moved in next door to the family two months ago, said it's a peaceful community.
"We live in a small town for a reason," she said.
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