Three people were indicted by a Hancock County grand jury Tuesday in connection with the death of 28-year-old Findlay resident Danielle Rice, who was found dead Feb. 4 along the side of a township road northeast of Findlay.
The death was initially investigated as a homicide, but Hancock County Coroner Dr. Mark Fox ruled the death an accident due to a fentanyl overdose.
Anthony T. Whitiker, 43, of Toledo, is suspected to be the dealer who sold Rice the drug that caused her to overdose, said Phil Riegle, the Hancock County prosecutor. Whitiker was charged Tuesday with involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony; corrupting another with drugs, a second-degree felony; abuse of a corpse, a fifth-degree felony, and tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, all in connection with the Rice case.
In an unrelated case, Whitiker was also indicted Tuesday on a charge of rape, a first-degree felony. That charge stems from an incident on Feb. 22.
Two women were also indicted Tuesday in connection with Rice’s death. Dawn M. Johns and Desirae M. Bright allegedly conspired with Whitiker to dump Rice’s body along Cass Township 215, Riegle said.
Bright, 40, of Findlay, was charged with abuse of a corpse, a fifth-degree felony; and tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, in connection with the Rice case. She was also charged Tuesday with possession of cocaine, a fifth-degree felony, in a separate case.
Johns, 38, of Findlay, was charged with abuse of a corpse, a fifth-degree felony, tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and permitting drug abuse, a fifth-degree felony.
Rice’s body was discovered by a man who was walking for exercise and noticed a black trash bag by the side of the road on Township 215, east of Hancock County 18. Her nude body was covered by two trash bags, one over her head and one over her legs, with the two meeting in the middle.
The body was identified by tattoos, according to the coroner’s report.