Clues sought in Metroparks double homicide


Police continue to investigate the shooting deaths of a man and woman whose bodies were found June 4 along the Rocky River in the Rocky River Reservation even as their lives were set to be celebrated last night at a candlelight vigil.

Carnell Sledge, 40, of North Olmsted, was found dead at 5:22 p.m. just north of the Lorain Road Bridge, along with his longtime friend Katherine Brown, 33, of Fairview Park. Kayakers in the Rocky River discovered the bodies and called police.

Brown’s body was on the riverbank and Sledge’s was in nearby grass, officials said.

In a brief news conference Thursday, Chief Katherine Dolan of the Cleveland Metroparks Police said park visitors are safe.

“Currently we believe this to be an isolated incident, and overall, the safety of the parks is not in question,” she said.

Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson ruled both deaths homicides. Sledge died from multiple gunshot wounds to the head. Brown died from a single gunshot to the head.

Neither Dolan nor Gilson took questions from the media.

Metroparks detectives are working with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation on the case, Metroparks spokeswoman Jacqueline Gerling said after the news conference.

She declined to comment on whether investigators had any potential suspects, if any evidence was found or the relationship between Sledge and Brown.

Sledge, a North Carolina native, was a program manager the past two years for Empower Sports, a Cleveland nonprofit organization that provides sports and exercise programs for children and adults with various physical and cognitive disabilities.

“Carnell did wonderful things with the children in our program,” said Tom Heines, the founder and executive director of Empower Sports. “He was totally dedicated to helping them out and working with them. He made a big impact on a lot of different people with his work.”

Sledge’s desire to help children carried over to other parts of his life, Heines said. He also worked as a volunteer youth consultant at Applewood Centers, which provides mental health services, He also worked as a special education specialist in the Westlake City School District from September 2013 to 2018, officials said.

“That’s just the type of person he was,” Heines said. “He really cared about the kids.”

That work ethic carried over to Sledge’s job with Crescent Digital, a Cleveland company run by Mike Heines, Tom’s father. Sledge was an audio visual technician for Crescent, Tom said.

“He was a talented person who could do a lot of things well,” Tom Heines said.

Sledge was involved with Crescent’s work on helping renovate the Cleveland Cavaliers arena and enjoyed being around sports like basketball. He was able to blend that love of sports with his work with children as well, Heines said.

Anyone with information on the deaths can call Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County at 216-252-7463. There are rewards of up to $2,500 depending upon the information provided.

Contact this reporter at or 440-871-5797.

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