Citizens plead for end to drug-related deaths in Chillicothe

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (WCMH) – Ross County citizens marched through the streets of Chillicothe on Monday demanding something be done about heroin addiction, crime and the mounting number of missing women.

City, county and business leaders stood on the courthouse steps promising a change is coming — criminals beware.

Hundreds of people filled Paint Street, spilling onto the sidewalks, listening and applauding as official after official promised something will be done.

Families of those missing and dead women stood shoulder-to-shoulder as they marched, pleading for an end to the escalating number of deaths from drug addiction.

Shasta Himelrick’s step-mother Nicole Newland told NBC4 drugs are a common thread between the women.

“I know that is mainly how the girls knew each other. I don’t know if that is how they all ended up dead and missing though,”she said.

PHOTOS: Families of the missing and deceased women say they want closure.
PHOTOS: Families of the missing and deceased women say they want closure.

Marching with a “Take it back, Make it ours,” banner, hundreds of folks walked to Bridge and Second Streets, a place officials said is the epicenter of the drugs and prostitution sales.

“When we have drugs and prostitution on Second Street it is time for it to go,” said Sheriff George Lavender. “I don’t want my family scared to be in the community, and I don’t want your family to be scared to be in the community.”

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said they brought in extra troopers to shut down this drug pipeline into Chillicothe.

“You are going to see K9s, criminal patrols, you are going to see us on the city streets,” said Lt. Virgil Conley. We are going to deter crime through aggressive traffic enforcement.

“Collaboration is key. That is how we survive. That is how we take this community back.”

The crime initiative started at Monday at 3 p.m. with police officers dedicated to the area making traffic stops and arresting anyone caught in criminal activity. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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