After nearly 14 years of unanswered justice, an arrest is made in the 2006 unsolved murder of Melinda McKinney (Shaffer).
Early Thursday morning, May 14, 2020, evidence was presented to a Shelby County Grand Jury in regards to the ongoing murder investigation of Melinda McKinney (Shaffer). After reviewing evidence presented an arrest indictment for Murder was issued by the grand jury. The Sidney Police Department coordinating efforts with Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Tuscarawas County Ohio Sheriff’s Office, had Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office execute the arrest warrant. At noon today Tuscarawas Law enforcement arrested Allen Romell Harris, age 46, at 602 Tuscarawas Ave in Newcomerstown, Ohio. Tuscarawas is the County to which Allen Romell Harris now resides.
Harris has been indicted on one count of Murder with a Repeat Violent Offender Specification. Harris is currently incarcerated at the Tuscarawas County Jail where he will remain until he is brought back to Shelby County.
Allen Romell Harris has been a person of interest since the early months of the murder. There was insufficient evidence at the time to make an arrest. New advances in DNA testing recently linked Harris to the murder of Melinda McKinney (Shaffer).
For 14 years this case has been on the top of the watch list for the Sidney Police Department. Detectives regularly reviewed this case file, followed up on new information as it came in, and more importantly would review new possibilities in scientific lab testing. Detectives have conducted approx. 124 interviews with approx. 88 individuals, conducted 3 field searches, 5 polygraphs, and 10 search warrants. There has been investigative collaboration with BCI, FBI, Montgomery County Prosecutors Office, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, and the Shelby County Prosecutor’s Office. A special thanks needs to be given by our department and community to the Law Enforcement partners at the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office who were instrumental in apprehending Allen Harris when the warrant was issued.
As long as a journey this case has been for law enforcement it fails in comparison the despair that the family of Melinda McKinney Shaffer has had to endure for the last 14 years in not knowing who and holding accountable the person who murdered Melinda. I hope they can finally get some closure.
Capt. J A Tangeman