ELYRIA — Police and federal agents walked with a handcuffed man as they searched a wooded area off Mussey Avenue in Elyria on Monday for a second day in connection with the disappearance of Tierra Bryant more than two years ago.
Rashan Hunt, 39, who has extensive ties to Elyria and Cleveland, is facing murder charges in the suspected homicide of the 19-year-old woman. Bryant was last seen March 30, 2015, with Hunt. Police said Bryant sent a text to a friend wanting a ride from a Middleburg Heights motel, but when the friend arrived, Bryant was gone.
No one has seen or heard from Bryant since. Police have not found her body.
Authorities arrested Hunt in Sacramento, Calif., earlier this month connection with Bryant’s disappearance, and he waived extradition to return to Ohio to face charges.
Monday, a man arrived with law enforcement in handcuffs and a hooded jacket over his head. He walked into the densely wooded area near the old Maverick Tube Corp. He later was driven away in an unmarked sport utility vehicle. Authorities would not confirm whether the man was Hunt.
A short time later, a city of Elyria excavator was brought to the area.
Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino said Elyria’s involvement was just to assist with equipment and closing the road. He said he had no information about the actual investigation or search.
“We are not actively involved with what they are doing,” he said. “The case belongs to Middleburg Heights police and the FBI.”
Monday marked the second day agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Evidence Response Team searched the area. A daylong search June 21 turned up nothing, police have said.
Middleburg Heights Police Lt. Rob Swanson did not provide many new details when speaking to reporters Monday, only confirming that “we are still searching.”
“Right now, what we are doing is following up on new leads as they come in,” he said.
Around 7 p.m. as the excavating equipment and dump trucks were leaving the area, and investigators were leaving as well, Swanson remained tight-lipped and said only that the area would remain sealed off and police might have more to say today. As of 9:30 p.m. two police cars were guarding the blocked portion of Mussey Avenue.
Lorain County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans said the FBI informed the coroner’s office they would be in the area digging.
“They said they would call us if they found anything, and I have not gotten a call,” Evans said.
Hunt has a history with police in Elyria that goes back to 1999 when he was accused of assaulting his child’s mother and, in a separate incident, shot a man four times, a crime for which he ended up serving more than 10 years in prison.
He lived in Elyria for several years before the stint in prison.
Hunt was sentenced after confessing to a July 26, 1999, shooting at an apartment on West River Road North. Hunt told police he went to the apartment with a loaded 9 mm handgun, shot Sierra Carey four times and stole a watch and $500, police said.
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