Crawford County Sheriff Darin Layman released the following information late Thursday night:
On Wednesday, September 20, detectives with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office and the Franklin County Narcotics Task Force responded to a residence on Hwy J, outside of Bourbon, regarding a homicide investigation. After an extensive search of the property, an unidentified body was discovered. The deceased has now been positively identified as Edward J. Hillhouse, 28 years of age, from Bourbon.
In April of 2016, the Bourbon Police Department began a missing person investigation as members of Hillhouse's family had reported him missing. At the request of the Bourbon Police Department, members of the Franklin County Narcotics Task Force were called to assist in the investigation as they provide investigative services for that agency. As the investigation unfolded, investigators determined the missing person investigation was now a possible homicide that had occurred within the jurisdiction of the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office. Acting on this information, a multi-jurisdictional investigation was conducted involving the Bourbon Police Department, the Franklin County Narcotics Task Force, and the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.
During the investigation, and upon discovery of Hillhouse's body, a person of interest in the death of Hillhouse was developed. That person has been identified as Deacon J. Zelch, 40 years of age, from Bourbon. Zelch is known to frequent the Bourbon and Sullivan areas. He is to be considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached. Should anyone have any information as to Zelch’s whereabouts please contact Central Communications at 573-775-4911.