JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio (AP) — The bodies of an Ohio couple missing since 2018 are believed to have been found Thursday in a car submerged in the Ohio River, authorities said.
Joni Davis and her longtime boyfriend and caregiver, Brian Goff, disappeared in June 2018. Volunteer divers who were working in the area on a different case located a vehicle in the river with Goff’s license plate on it Wednesday night, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said at a news conference.
The vehicle was pulled from the water Thursday, and the remains of two people were found inside, Abdalla said. Their seatbelts appeared to have been fastened, he said.
Autopsies will be completed to confirm identities and determine causes of death.
A team of forensic experts will process the vehicle Friday and gather evidence, Abdalla said.
Goff’s car was last spotted by a gas station surveillance camera headed north in Belmont County, not long after the couple had dined, as usual on Sunday nights, at a Pizza Hut.
The last ping from Goff’s cellphone was in neighboring Jefferson County. After that, the couple essentially vanished.
Goff, 65 at the time of his disappearance, and Davis, 56, had met decades ago at a picnic, Jackie Davis, Joni’s sister, said a year after they went missing.
Their relationship became complicated when Joni at age 35 failed to wake up one morning and remained in a coma for months. After a long stay at a rehabilitation facility, according to Jackie Davis, Joni re-learned how to walk, speak and feed herself. But her brain damage was permanent, and she required fulltime care.
“I want to know who did it, and why they did it,” Jackie Davis said in 2019. “I don’t know what would cause someone to hurt those two people. They would be the last two people in the world that something bad would happen to.”