GALLIPOLIS — A Bidwell man was sentenced to two and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to the fifth-degree felony crime of abuse of a corpse and the third-degree felony crime of tampering with evidence in the Gallia Court of Common Pleas in connection with the remains of Terry Rothgeb, 55, of Gallipolis.
Ralph Young, Jr., 39, of Bidwell, was one of three charged with tampering with Rothgeb’s body after his death.
According to a previous story published by the Tribune, Deputies discovered the body of Rothgeb in Gallia County’s Springfield Township Feb. 12 at 2 a.m. after having received a missing person report the same day.
Investigators believed Rothgeb did not die where he was found in Springfield Township and that his body was moved. Gallia Sheriff’s Office investigators were able to develop suspects and through them learned the whereabouts of the body. Law enforcement officials would come upon Rothgeb’s form and believe his death to be due to drug overdose. Investigators returned to where they believe Rothgeb originally died at a residence in the Rodney area, according to previous conversations with Gallia Sheriff Matt Champlin.
At the time the body was discovered and the investigation underway, the sheriff said the scene had been cleaned and evidence removed.
“Lacey Young (of Middleport) is still at large,” said Gallia Prosecutor Jason Holdren. “Leeza Bartles (of Bidwell) still faces court.”
“The case has shown that Mr. Rothgeb passed away, Mr. Young was a part of moving his body into a van and then relocating the van (to another location) and leaving (Rothgeb) there,” said Holdren. “Mr. Young said they (he and his colleagues) were scared.”
As part of court proceedings, Young reportedly said he and his colleagues attempted to revive Rothgeb with Narcan, an opioid overdose revival drug, and CPR on the deceased’s form.
“The concern is that human life and someone passed away and people took it upon themselves to manipulate a potential crime scene or coverup what happened or obstruct law enforcement from being able to do their thing all because (the defendants) may have had a warrant,” said Holdren. “We would like to see obviously 911 called and people taken to the ER. We would like to see those types of things. Here we didn’t. Here we saw a breakdown in our system by manipulating a scene, cleaning a scene and getting rid of a body.”
The Gallia Sheriff’s Office encourage any with knowledge of Lacey Young’s whereabouts to contact them at their crime tip line, 740-446-6555.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-46-2342, ext. 2103.