GEORGETOWN, Ohio — The husband of a woman who was found murdered in her vehicle in Brown County, Ohio in 2013, has won a portion of a lawsuit to have her property returned to him.
The lawsuit was filed against Brown County Sheriff Gordon Ellis and Brown County Prosecutor Zac Corbin to have Brittany Stykes’ vehicle, car seat, laptop and other items returned to Daryl Stykes.
According to the lawsuit, the sheriff’s department took possession of the property on Aug. 28, 2013, and Daryl Stykes requested the property to be returned.
“The 2000 Jeep that she was driving, along with its contents, were seized by the Brown County Sheriff’s Department as evidence in their investigation into her death,” the lawsuit said. “To date, there has been no indictment made for her murder. The sheriff’s department and the Brown County Prosecutor have maintained that Stykes’ property will not be returned until criminal proceedings have concluded.”
A decision by Judge Scott T. Gusweiler states the vehicle, a 2000 Jeep Wrangler, must be returned to Daryl Stykes by Oct. 1, 2018.
“The defendants may retain possession of the (vehicle) owned by the plaintiff until Oct. 1, 2018, at which time it is to be surrendered to the plaintiff. In the meantime, defendants may perform any additional testing, photographing, measuring or any other steps they deem necessary to obtain whatever they can from the vehicle. If they can’t find it within five years, it is safe to believe it doesn’t exist,” Gusweiler said in his decision.
According to the lawsuit, most of the property will be returned to Daryl Stykes, including his late wife’s purse, but the car seat and laptop remain a separate issue.
“…It was conceded by all parties that the laptop computer is in the custody of BCI. That agency is not a party to this case and all agreed that the court cannot make an order against one who is not party to this litigation. It is noted, however, that with technology being what it is today, it should be very easy for a copy of the computer contents to be made and retained by the proper authorities, thereby permitting the laptop computer to be returned to Stykes. Such a disposition is suggested as being fair to all, but cannot be ordered,” Gusweiler said.
The request for the car seat was withdrawn due to still having some evidentiary value, according to the lawsuit.
On Aug. 28, 2013, Brittany Stykes, 22, and 17 weeks pregnant, was shot and killed while in her vehicle on U.S. 68 north of Ripley, Ohio, just a few miles from her parents’ home.
Brittany Stykes’ toddler daughter, Aubree, a rear seat passenger, was also shot in the head, in her car seat, but survived. She had to undergo multiple surgeries during her recovery, officials said.
According to police, robbery did not appear to be a motive, since Brittany Stykes had cash in her possession when her body was found, and Stykes did not have gunshot residue on her, leading investigators to believe she was shot from a distance away.
Officials have said there are no major breakthroughs, but there is an ongoing effort to resolve the case.
There have been police interviews, and public vigils on key dates in Stykes’ life and death, but no arrests for the crime.