SEARCHING FOR KEELING
Leslie Adkins  /  The Post-Tribune
Gary, Ind., police officers search for evidence Wednesday on railroad tracks near the spot where the body of Marvin Keeling, a suspect in the slayings of a 13-year-old who accused him of molesting her best friend and two convenience store clerks, was found.
updated 10/20/2005 1:29:28 PM ET 2005-10-20T17:29:28

A man wanted in the shooting death of a 13-year-old girl and two convenience store employees has been found dead in an apparent suicide, a coroner confirmed Thursday.

Melvin Keeling, 43, of suburban Cincinnati, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Lake County Coroner David J. Pastrick said.

The body was found by teenagers Wednesday near train tracks a few hundred yards from where Keeling’s van had been found the morning after the shootings.

Keeling was wanted in the shooting of 13-year-old Katelind Caudill in her grandmother’s Ohio home as the girl — who had accused Keeling of molesting her friend — got ready for school Sept. 19. Four hours later, two Indiana convenience store employees also were shot and killed.

Dennis Caudill, Katelind’s grandfather, said the discovery of Keeling’s body was a relief.

“It was some kind of a closure, but it will never be a complete closure,” he said. “Knowing that he didn’t get completely away with it is some kind of closure.”

The body was identified through medical and dental records, Pastrick said.

The serial number on a handgun found near the body matched one on a gun Keeling bought at a pawn shop two days before the shootings, said Mike Brooks, a spokesman for the FBI office in Cincinnati.

Just days before the deaths, the daughter of Keeling’s live-in girlfriend told Katelind, her best friend, that Keeling had been molesting her for three years. Katelind confronted him, calling him a pedophile, according to a sheriff’s department affidavit.

After Keeling fled Ohio, he was charged with raping Katelind’s friend.

“Once I see the body and I can see for myself that it’s Melvin, it will be a big relief for this family,” Katelind’s mother, Gina Eaton, told WCPO in Cincinnati. “We will be able to grieve for Katie and we won’t have to live in fear.”

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