Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Details of Disappearance
John Markley and his wife Shelly Markley were last seen by their family on the morning of December 15, 1995, when they put their youngest son, 8, on the school bus. They have five children. When their oldest daughter, who was 15 at the time, returned home from school, they were nowhere to be found.
Investigators found several odd things around the house: The clothes the couple intended to wear to a funeral for John’s twin sister were laid out. The funeral was held that day. A gun cabinet, usually locked, was open. Personal possessions like Shelly’s cigarettes, purse, credit cards and identification were left at the house. The coffee pot was left on. John Markley's watch was found on the counter.
A bank teller told investigators the Markleys went through the Cortland Bank’s Bloomfield branch 10:30 a.m. the day they disappeared and cashed a $1,000 check. The teller told police a slender, dark-haired man was in the cab of their 1990 Chevy pick-up truck. The checkbook was not recovered.
The truck was found a few days later in the parking lot of the former Stambaugh’s Hardware on Elm Road in Warren. Family members said the truck, which was dirty, looked like it had been driven off-road and that wasn’t something the Markleys usually did.
Shelly Markley's sister, Linda Mason, said the couple were dedicated parents who love their children very much and were very protective. They would never never go away and leave them unattended.
In 1996, Stephen Durst, who was 45 at the time, was convicted of extorting the Markley family for $10,000 in exchange for information on their whereabouts. Durst was sentenced to four to 10 years. He was arrested after a police stakeout at a gas station where the caller was supposed to pick up a bag full of money. Instead, the bag was full of rags.
Durst also failed several questions about the couple’s disappearance. His answers were marked as deceptive when he said he wasn’t involved in the disappearance and didn’t see them after they were reported missing.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Trumbull County Sheriff's Office