Cab driver’s body found in city alley

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 10, 2000

Police suspect the Tuesday night stabbing death of a Sureway Cab Co.

Wednesday, May 10, 2000

Police suspect the Tuesday night stabbing death of a Sureway Cab Co. driver could have happened after a robbery.

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The cab driver, William C. Keen, 62, 1727 Echo Drive, Ironton, was found dead about 1:22 a.m. in an alley off South Fourth Street between Ashtabula and Clinton streets, only a few feet away from his car, Ironton Police Department Detective Capt. Chris Bowman said.

"The initial emergency call was received by the Ironton Police Department at 12:36 a.m., when Sureway Cab Co. dispatchers reported that a cab was missing and that the driver was not responding," Bowman said. "Keen’s last call was at 11:11 p.m."

About an hour after the missing cab report, IPD officials received a much more distressing call for help from the cab company, Bowman said.

"We received another call at 1:22 a.m., with which the cab company reported they had found Keen’s cab and Keen’s body and that they needed help immediately," Bowman said.

Despite the heinous nature of the crime, law enforcement officials do not believe there is a threat to public safety in general at this time, Bowman added.

"This appears to be an isolated incident," he said. "Of course, we will be examining all of the evidence presented to us."

Investigators had not determined this morning if cash was missing from Keen’s cab.

A robbery is one of the possible motives at this time, Bowman said.

Although investigators still are unsure as to motive, citing that the victim had no arrest record and no history of drug use – common motives in murder cases, Bowman said.

"Keen did not have a criminal record and certainly doesn’t appear to be about drugs or anything like that," Bowman said. "We’ll be exploring robbery and any other areas, such as retaliation and other forms of motive. At this time we have not ruled out any possibilities."

Police will continue to search for a suspect today, Bowman said.

"We’d like anyone if they have any information to call us," he said.

The Ohio attorney general’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation gathered evidence from the scene this morning and will do the initial investigation, Bowman said.

Keen suffered a stab wound and his throat appeared to have been cut, the detective said.

Police removed the vehicle and the county coroner’s office removed the driver’s body from the alley by 9 this morning.

The body is being taken to Columbus for an autopsy at the Franklin County coroner’s Office.

At about 10:30 p.m., the driver reported his position to dispatch as parked near the VFW, Bowman said. He was dispatched to a Third Street bar about 11 p.m. but he never showed, the detective said.

"They searched for him before calling us, then called when they found him," Bowman said.

Coal Grove police, county prosecutor’s office investigators and the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department assisted in the investigation.

The cab driver’s death shocked residents and workers near the Fourth Street area this morning.

Bryant Health Center employees, who often come out for breaks and sit at picnic tables in view of where the cab driver was found, said it’s scary to have someone killed in their backyard.

"I grew up here, and brought my kids back here from New York because it was more of a safe place to raise them and now this happens," Mary Orengo said.

Others hope the stabbing isn’t the beginning of a crime spree because those who have lost jobs in Ironton are becoming desperate, Kim Bare said.

"If we would get more jobs in Ironton, it wouldn’t come to this," Mrs. Bare said. "This happens in a big city, not here. And why? Over a few lousy bucks."