[Fox News] Ohio man convicted of abusing corpse, evidence tampering in case of missing Kentucky teen

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An Ohio man has been convicted of abuse of a corpse and evidence tampering in the case of a Kentucky teenager whose body was found in Ohio a decade after she disappeared.

Jurors in Clermont County deliberated for more than nine hours over two days before convicting 35-year-old Jacob Bumpass last week of both charges he faced in the death of 17-year-old Paige Johnson of Florence, Kentucky. Defense attorneys immediately vowed to appeal the verdict and seek a new trial.

Johnson’s remains were found in 2020 by a hiker in East Fork State Park, about 20 miles east of Cincinnati, near the area investigators had searched after the teen disappeared in September 2010. A cause of death was never determined.

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Authorities had questioned Bumpass, a friend, at the time and believed he was the last person to have seen her alive. Prosecutors cited DNA evidence and records indicating that the defendant’s phone was pinged by a cell tower just over a mile away from where the body was found and then by one near a bridge leading back to northern Kentucky.

Defense attorney Louis Sirkin posed the idea that Johnson’s body was planted in the East Fork Lake area sometime after her disappearance, saying that if her remains were there all along they would have been spotted by workers at a nearby farm and people who used the area for illegal dumping.

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Paige Johnson’s mother, Donna Johnson, said after the verdict that it had been “a long wait and that part has been very hard,” since her daughter’s remains have been held in evidence pending the trial. Now, she said, “I get to bring my baby home and give her the dignity she has deserved this whole time and has had to wait for.”

“I will always want to know what happened. I don’t think he’s ever gonna tell us,” Johnson said. “This sadness will stay with me forever.”

Bumpass is scheduled for sentencing Sept. 7.

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