Authorities arrest sex offender in kidnapping, death of 13-year-old Ohio girl

SHARON, PA (WKBN) – Ashtabula County authorities have linked a suspect arrested in Sharon with the kidnapping and death of a 13-year-old girl.

Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell said the body of 13-year-old Kara Zdanczewski was found in a wooded area near Sanborn Road.

The girl went with 46-year-old John Richard Bove, a friend of the girl’s father, according to police. Investigators were called when the girl didn’t return after leaving with him on Wednesday morning and Bove didn’t answer the mother’s calls.

According to a criminal affidavit filed in Mercer County, a Sharon woman called police to report that Bove had come over and told her that he was out with a friend’s teenage daughter. She said he told her that, “things went south,” and that he shot and killed her.

Bove also told the woman that his truck was stuck in the woods and he had to walk, according to the affidavit. Police then learned that a 1996 Toyota Camry had been reported stolen from a neighbor’s home in Ashtabula.

A Sharon Police officer, who spotted the Camry, tried to pull it over on Thursday. Police said Bove, the driver, then ran and led officers on a chase around the city.

Officers eventually arrested Bove near the helicopter pad of Sharon Regional Hospital.

John Bove
John Bove (Courtesy: Ohio Sex Offender Registry)

Bove is charged in Mercer County with felony fleeing and eluding, receiving stolen property and use or possession of drug paraphernalia. He is being held as a fugitive from justice in the Mercer County Jail, where he awaits extradition to Ohio to face kidnapping and grand theft of a motor vehicle charges in Ashtabula County.

According to police records, when Bove was arrested, he had a list of items to change his identity including a fake identification and glasses.

Police in Sharon shut down part of the Shenango Valley Freeway Thursday night to search for additional evidence in the case. East Connelly Boulevard in Sharon was shut down between Stambaugh and Sharpsville avenues around for almost three hours Thursday night.

The Ohio Sex Offender registry shows that Bove was convicted of rape in 1989 out of New York state and that the victim was a female he did not know. The record stated that Bove choked the female and hit her. The report did not list an age of the victim. 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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