2017 Black River graduate slain in double homicide

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JONATHAN DELOZIER
REPORTER

A Columbus man has admitted to murdering a Black River High School graduate and her boyfriend, according to police.

The bodies of Mikayla Sotherland, 20, who grew up in Huntington, and Ryan Fuller, 21, of Columbus, were discovered Sunday inside a 2005 white Dodge Caravan.

The van was parked in Columbus’ Hilltop neighborhood, which is the last area the victims were reported to have been seen, family members said.

John Jordan Jr., 54, of Columbus, was detained at the scene. Police said he confessed to slaying the young couple.

Jordan has been charged with two counts of murder and is being held on a $3 million bond.

According to court documents, Sotherland and Fuller were killed Oct. 27, the same day that family members reported them missing.

Jordan allegedly struck Fuller in the head several times with a blunt object. When Sotherland tried to defend Fuller, she was struck and killed by Jordan with the same object, the documents said.

Jordan then removed the bodies from the scene and placed them in the Caravan, documents stated.

Shortly after the couple was reported missing, Sotherland’s purse, credit cards, and ID were found inside of Fuller’s black Dodge Ram that was parked behind Fuller’s mother’s house.

Jordan is the mother’s next door neighbor.

Sotherland was a 2017 Black River graduate and worked as an assistant athletic trainer with the Pirates football team.

District superintendent Chris Clark said grief counselors have been made available for students that knew Sotherland.

Columbus police are still investigating the case and urge anyone with information to call 614-645-4730.

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