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Father, daughter charged after human remains found in Hocking County

Authorities say 40-year-old Michael Dixon was identified as a person of interest in the disappearance of 56-year-old James Whitaker.
Credit: Hocking County Sheriff's Office

HOCKING COUNTY, Ohio — A father and daughter in Hocking County are facing charges after human remains were found.

On Saturday, July 25, the Hocking County Sheriff's Office received a report that 56-year-old James Whitaker was missing from the South Bloomingville area. 

Family members told deputies they had not seen or heard from Whitaker since July 3. Authorities say the family also stated that some property was missing.

On July 26, detectives searched a home to try and find evidence of Whitaker's location. Some items were taken and sent to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Crime Lab.

As a result of the investigation, detectives identified 40-year-old Michael Dixon, of Laurelville, as a person of interest in the case. Dixon was found on July 27.

Authorities say Dixon admitted during an interview that he killed Whitaker and tried hiding his body and other evidence on Whitaker's property.

Detectives obtained an additional search warrant for Whitaker's home on July 28. Human remains and other evidence were recovered at the scene.

Forensic analysis will need to take place in order to positively identify the remains as Whitaker.

Authorities say Michael Dixon's 18-year-old daughter, Melody, had witnessed the incident and lied to police.

Michael Dixon is currently charged with tampering with evidence. Melody Dixon is charged with obstructing justice. 

Both are being held at the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail in Nelsonville.

Additional charges are expected to be presented to the Hocking County Grand Jury once the recovered remains are positively identified.