Father: Son answered Ohio ad to provide for boys

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) ? The father of an Ohio man found dead after answering a Craigslist help-wanted ad said Sunday his son sought the job in order to better provide for his three boys.

Timothy Kern, 47, of Massilon was found dead Friday, buried near an Akron, Ohio, shopping mall. The Summit County Medical Examiner’s office said he was shot in the head.

Kern’s father, Jack Kern, told The Associated Press on Sunday that his son was employed “here and there” and responded to the ad for a farmhand job because he wanted the best for his own sons, ages 17, 18, and 28.

Jack Kern said the ad offered $300 a week to tend more than 680 acres, similar to a Craigslist ad that police say lured another man to his death.

“That’s all he (Timothy) wanted ? to give his kids a better life,” Jack Kern said. “This job seemed like a great opportunity. He was really upbeat about the whole thing.”

Authorities say a Craigslist ad was used to lure Norfolk, Va., resident David Pauley, 51, to Ohio, apparently with the intent of robbing him. Pauley was found dead in a rural area of Noble County, 90 miles south of Akron. A South Carolina man also answered the ad and was shot Nov. 6 before escaping, police say. Two suspects are in custody and a judge has issued a gag order in the case.

A third body was found hours after Kern’s not far from where Pauley’s was buried in a hand-dug grave. That person has not been identified and authorities are not saying whether the three deaths are linked.

The farm advertised on Craigslist does not exist; the Noble County area where Pauley’s body and the unidentified body were found is property owned by a coal company and often leased to hunters.

Jack Kern said it came as no surprise when the FBI sat his family down Saturday and told them Timothy Kern was dead of gunshot wounds to the head. He said it was out of character for his son, who was divorced, not to be in touch with his boys.

“We had expected this. We had hopes, but if he would have gotten away, he would have found his way, some way to call,” the elder Kern said. “He constantly saw his sons. I paid his cell phone bill and saw the texting, sometimes until 2, 3 o’clock in the morning. I asked, ‘What can you guys talk about with 1,000 text messages a month?'”

Jack Kern said one of his son’s biggest concerns with the Craigslist job was that he was told he would have no cell phone service and would be miles away from his boys.

Authorities have said robbery may have been the motive for Pauley’s death and the attack on the South Carolina man. They said Pauley was told to bring all of his possessions to the site.

Jack Kern said everything Timothy Kern owned was sitting in his ex-wife’s house in Massilon, where the man apparently behind the job posting was supposed to pick him up on Nov. 15. Timothy Kern went missing Nov. 13.

The elder Kern said one of the stipulations of the job was that his son was supposed to sign his car over to the man in exchange for a truck. Kern said his son never told him the man’s name.

The two suspects in custody are from the Akron area: a high school student who has been charged with attempted murder and 52-year-old Richard Beasley, who is in jail on unrelated charges. Beasley’s mother has described her son’s relationship with the jailed teen as that of a mentor.