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  DNA EVIDENCE LEADS BOARDMAN POLICE TO SUSPECTED KILLER OF BRAD BELLINO  
  On Apr. 4, 1972, A Body Found In A Dumpster At The Boardman Plaza Was Identified As 12-Year-Old Brad Bellino:   January 26, 2023 Edition  
     BY JOHN A. DARNELL JR.
      associate editor
      Boardman police believe they have solved a 50-year-old murder case, the death of 12-year-old Brad Bellino, son of the late Joseph and Elissa Bellino-Pascarella, of 61 McClurg Rd., whose body was found in a dumpster behind an Isaly’s Dairy store in the Boardman Plaza on Apr. 4, 1972.
      A coroner’s report said the boy had been strangled and sexually assaulted.
      According to police reports from 1972, Bellino was at the home of a friend on Teakwood Dr. in Applewood Acres on Fri., Mar 31 when he supposedly left the home in the evening to walk to his house on McClurg Rd.
      He never showed-up and the following day, and not until 3:30 p.m., Bellino was reported missing to police.
      Then, sometime around 8:00 p.m. on Tues., Apr. 4, the boy’s lifeless body was found in a dumpster behind the Isaly Dairy store in the plaza. A belt (from JCPenney) was found strapped around his neck. The strap bore teeth marks; and body fluid, not Bellino’s, was later discovered on the boy’s pants.
      The body was taken to South Side Hospital in Youngstown, and a post mortem exam was conducted by Mahoning County Coroner Dr. David A. Belinky. His report listed Brad’s time of death at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, more than 24 hours after he was last confirmed to be seen.
      Also, the day the boy’s body was found, it was the first day on the job of newly-named Police Chief Dave Hartsock. Not only did his department have to deal with the boy’s death, but on the same day an organized crime figure, Randall Good, 24, was killed when his car was blown-up at an apartment building on Shields Rd.; also resulting in injuries to his 18-year-old wife, Debra, and a 22-year-old man named Salvatore Pizzulo.
      Spanning through police chief’s Hartsock, Grant L. Hess, Roy Fink, James McBride, Bill Walters and Glenn Bowers (who served until 2000), local police continued their investigation into the Bellino murder, following hundreds of tips and traveling around the United States to check on leads, to no avail.
      In 2000, Jeffrey Patterson was named chief upon Bowers’ retirement and he renewed the investigation into the Bellino murder, when the boy’s body was exhumed at Green Haven Memorial Park in Austintown in 2001. His clothes were sent to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s forensic laboratory, and a DNA profile was obtained.
      “Over the years, numerous, potential suspects were checked against the DNA sample, and also through the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database, with negative results,” current Police Chief Todd Werth told The Boardman News.
      In Dec., 2018, Capt. Albert Kakascik approached Chief Werth, expressing an interest in continuing the DNA investigation into Bellino’s death.
      Then, in Jan., 2019, at Chief Werth’s recommendation, Boardman Trustees approved $3,500 to conduct snapshot genetic genealogy analysis of DNA evidence, body fluids, that had been obtained from the crime scene, in conjunction with Parabon Nanolabs, of Reston, Va.
      Capt. Kakascik was assigned to revisit the case and began work to facilitate the use of familial DNA testing and genetic genealogy related to the DNA sample (body fluids) found on the Bellino boy.
      “Capt. Kakascik took the initiative in this case, and overcame many obstacles in bringing this case to a conclusion,” Chief Werth said.
      Over the next four years, DNA samples of persons identified by Parabon as potential suspects were checked by Boardman police, again without a positive results---until in December, 2022, when a sample resulted in a positive identification of a man whose DNA was found on Bellino, and who is now considered as the boy’s killer.
      He has been identified as Joseph Norman Hill, who resided at 151 Shadyside Dr. in Boardman at the time of the murder. According to police, he was 32-years-old when Bellino was murdered.
      “We believe there is sufficient evidence to present to a grand jury if Hill was alive, and that it would lead to his indictment,” Chief Werth said.
      According to Capt. Kakascik, Hill moved to California about six years after the Bellino murder and died there on July 3, 2019 in Yusiapa, (San Bernadino County), California. Reportedly, Hill was arrested on a charge of solicitation of a lewd act in 1986 in Los Angeles, Calif., while living in San Bernadino County, Calif., however details of that case are not currently available, or have been purged from police records. Hill reportedly worked as a truck driver while living in California.
      Records obtained by The Boardman News show that Hill filed a marriage license application when he was 19-years-old, listing his address as 336 Grant St., Youngstown, Oh. His future wife is listed as Bonita Powell, 21, of 1130 Wick Ave., Youngstown, Oh. She died on Oct. 31, 1993, in Anaheim, Calif.
      At the time of his marriage license application, he listed his occupation as a “bottle washer,” and was his future wife was employed as a “secretary.”
      The marriage license application says his father was deceased at the time of his marriage, and his mother’s maiden name was Mildred Ridel. Another document obtained by The Boardman News says that Hill’s mother died in Youngstown on Aug. 22, 1973, and her name was then Mildred Minehart.
      Sources indicate the Hills had at least one son.
      “The was a significant amount of work done on this case by the Boardman Police Department and other agencies in the area,” Chief Werth said. “Investigators (including Det. Robert Rupp) followed-up on several hundreds of leads, not only at the start of the investigation, but as information and potential tips came in over the years.
      “The work in 2001 to obtain the DNA sample was a key aspect of the investigation that led to identifying Hill as the subject in the death of Bradley Bellino over 50 years ago,” Chief Werth said.
      Cost of the DNA work, according to Chief Werth, was $29,000.
      “We have notified the family and our hope is that after 50 years, knowing who is responsible for Bradley’s death can bring some sort of closure to his family and friends,” Chief Werth said.
      Anyone who may have information about Hill while he resided in Boardman can contact the Boardman Police Department (Chief Werth or Capt. Kakascik) at 330-726-4144.
      The Death 1975 Of David Evans
      As Hill has been named in the death of Bradley Bellino, interest in Hill could re-ignite efforts to determine who killed 12-year-old David Evans.
      Evans’ lifeless and frozen body was found on the night of Jan. 23, 1975 in the rear yard of a home on Crestline Place.
      An autopsy revealed there was a three-inch hole in his back and he had several broken bones that were determined to be wounds suffered after his death (suggesting a killer had dumped the body there after the boy died).
      At the time of the discovery of the lad’s body, Coroner’s Investigator Mike Yarosh speculated that an animal, possibly a squirrel, caused the hole in the boy’s back, and Evans death was ruled the result of a diabetic emergency, as the boy was a diabetic.
      At the crime scene on Jan. 23, 1975, Boardman Police Officer Steve Balog, sharply disagreed with Yarosh’s conclusions (there was a heated argument), at one point noting that Evans couldn’t have broken his own bones after he died.
      To this day, former and current Boardman police officers agree with Balog’s conclusion and suggest that Evans’ death should be investigated as a murder, not the result of a diabetic emergency.
      Hill still lived in Boardman at the time of Evans death.
      Evans’ father steadfastly maintained that his son had been kidnapped and murdered.
 
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