The 38-day search for a man wanted for murdering his ex-girlfriend ended Wednesday morning.
According to the Ashland County Sheriff's Office, Nate Summerfield was arrested by U.S. Marshals at the Legacy Inn & Suites in Wadsworth, where he had checked in under the name “Jay Summerfield” on Tuesday evening.
Summerfield was unarmed when he was arrested and surrendered peacefully to law enforcement officials.
Summerfield, 27, was wanted for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Lynn Jackenheimer, who was last seen alive July 4.
Jackenheimer’s body was found in North Carolina after the two vacationed together there in July.
Summerfield drove Jackenheimer’s 13-year-old daughter and their young son back to Ohio and dropped them off with a relative, who Summerfield told that he killed his ex-girlfriend.
Peter J. Elliott of the U.S. Marshals said on Wednesday that they tracked Summerfield across the country and found his car on Aug. 8 in Berrien County, Mich., just across the Indiana boarder.
“Once we found the car in Michigan, I knew he was alive, because that was one of the concerns, is he alive or dead,” Elliott said.
Ross Wilber, a commander with the U.S. Marshals’ Task Force, said that Summerfield nearly convinced law enforcement officials that he was dead.
“He did a good job of keeping his head low,” Wilber said. “(He) didn’t have contact with too many people that we could tell.”
Wilber said that he believed officers caught Summerfield off guard when they arrested him at the hotel in Medina Wednesday morning.
“I think he was very surprised,” Wilber said. “He was standing there looking towards the door when we came in. I think we caught him off guard.”
Wadsworth Police Chief Randy Renike said that Marshals gave his department a heads up early Wednesday morning that they were moving in on Summerfield.
“We are members of the Marshals task force, and my officers called me this morning and said that they had been asked to come in for a special operation this morning, and they briefed me as things were developing,” Renike said.
Elliott gave credit to the community for its help in Summerfield’s capture.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” Elliott said. “They never stopped. They started Facebook pages. They have wanted pictures on the back of their shirts.”
Lora Johnson, Lynn Jackenheimer’s mother, called Summerfield’s arrest a “step in the right direction.”
“I’m glad he’s caught,” Johnson said. “We can rest, try and move on.”
Jackenheimer’s 13-year-old daughter, Ciara Sheppard, said that she was being strong for her family.
“I don’t know what to do without her, but I have these people. I think I’ll be OK,” Sheppard said.
Ashland Sheriff E. Wayne Risner said that he was glad Summerfield was finally caught.
"I'm glad this is over, I'm glad we can take the posters down," said Sheriff E. Wayne Risner. "We will do whatever we can to bring justice for Lynn Jackenheimer"
Elliott said that investigators would continue to follow all tips and leads.
“We are going to follow up and put a lot of things together,” said Elliott. “If anyone was harboring him, I want to be clear, we will be looking at federal charges.”
Summerfield, who currently is being held at the Medina County Jail, will be extradited to North Carolina to face murder charges.
Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for continuing coverage.