Warrant Issued For ‘Person Of Interest’ In Mount Vernon Double Homicide

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The Knox County Prosecutor's Office has issued an arrest warrant for a man who may be connected to the deaths of his mother and girlfriend in Mount Vernon.

Prosecutors filed in the criminal complaint Thursday morning against 31-year-old Travis Bonham for grand theft.  

This comes amid an investigation into a double homicide that occurred Wednesday morning in Knox County.  Bonham is considered a “person of interest” in the deaths of 50-year-old Sandra Stelk and Jaime Barber, 23.

However, it's unknown so far as to what connection he may have to the two homicides.

According to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were dispatched to a home on the 18000 block of Coshocton Road just before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday when the bodies were found by Stelk's daughter.

Investigators say it’s unclear thus far how the pair was killed. 

On Wednesday night, the Ohio State Highway Patrol located Bonham’s vehicle abandoned in east Columbus with the license plates removed.  However, he is now believed to have switched to a red Ford Mustang with Michigan plates DGW6620.

Bonham is described as a white male, 6'2", with hazel eyes, medium build with many tattoos, including on the face, neck and arms. Family members believe he is armed and dangerous.

The public is asked not to approach Bonham, and instead call 911 if he is spotted. 

 

A family in shock

To Earsel Elkins, his cousin Sandy Stelk was a hero.

"She was just so sweet.  She always made me feel so special,” he recalls.  "She was my best friend she was my buddy; she was just awesome.”

The family says they are stunned that Stelk’s son is a person of interest in the case.

Earsel says Sandy loved her son, despite his constant run-ins with the law and history of drug abuse.  He says Sandy would take care of Travis when he released from jail.

He said Sandy’s husband didn't want Travis living at their home, but Sandy insisted, telling Earsel, “I can't leave my son on the street.”


Remembering Jaime

Jaime Barber was a mother, a daughter and a sister.  Her family is shocked over her loss.

Her mother Jodi Kinder is caught between two states, consumed by tears.  “Jaime was a very intelligent, beautiful, wonderful young lady,” recalls Kinder.

Barber’s grandmother, Janice Southern, remembers Jamie would “light of our lives and she always cheered us up and made us happy when we were down.”

Jaime had even introduced her 4-year-old daughter to her new boyfriend, Travis Bonham, and brought the child by both Kinder and Southern’s homes. Jodi says her daughter was excited about getting a new apartment and job.

They're sick to hear police are on the hunt for him and he's a person of interest in Barber's death and his own mother's.

“I believed in Jaime and I believed that he was a good person,” said Kinder.  “What lies beneath that exterior of a man is pure evil.”

Jaime's family wants Bonham to turn himself in.  They're also upset for his family, since they're now dealing with the loss of Bonham’s mother.