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Woman with stab wounds found dead in Cuyahoga Falls

Discovered by resident of Howe Avenue complex

By ERIC MAROTTA Editor and TIM TROGLEN Reporter Published: September 26, 2017 4:00 AM
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CUYAHOGA FALLS -- An Akron man arrested following a standoff with police was driving a car belonging to a woman later found dead in a Cuyahoga Falls apartment.

Ashley Michelle Williams, 27, of Akron, was pronounced dead in a Howe Avenue apartment Saturday after the apartment's resident called police around 7:30 p.m. to report he found her there after returning home from work.

The previous evening, she had told family she was going to meet 35-year-old Marcus A. Coker, who was arrested later that night by police following a chase in her car. Police have not said Coker is a suspect in the case, but they do say there is a suspect.

In a 2 minute, 27 second segment of the 911 call released by Cuyahoga Falls police, the apartment resident can be heard telling police he does not know who Williams is.

"Can you get the paramedics here please? I just got home ... somebody's in my apartment and I think they are dead."

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The man told a dispatcher he had a friend who had been staying at the apartment, but he did not know where the friend was or who the girl in the bed was.

"I have no idea. Some girl is laying in my bed -- dead. Get somebody here please."

Police said the remainder of the call is under review by the Cuyahoga Falls police and law departments.

The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office on Monday said the case is being considered a homicide and that Williams suffered multiple stab wounds.

Williams had told her mother she had gone to meet Coker "at an apartment complex by the Sam's Club" according the missing persons report her mother filed with Akron police Saturday evening. Her report was filed about a half-hour before the apartment resident called Cuyahoga Falls police to report finding Williams dead. Williams's mother said her daughter had dropped her children off around 9:45 p.m. Friday.

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Williams' mother said her daughter also had not been at work Saturday, though she "never misses work," and had not picked up her children, according to the report.

Coker was arrested in Akron later Friday night driving Williams' 2013 Volkswagen Jetta after police attempted to pull him over around 11 p.m. Police said an officer observed him driving recklessly on East Market Street near Seiberling Road.

In a Monday press release, Akron police said Coker led them on a pursuit for several minutes through the Goodyear Heights area before striking a parked car in front of 1310 Arnold Ave. Coker refused to exit the vehicle and was moving around inside the car. An officer fired a shot into the car and after Coker continued to move around, the SWAT team was called in to respond.

After an hour-long standoff, the release says, Coker was removed from the car. He suffered a minor head injury and was in Akron City Hospital as of Monday afternoon, according to police.

Coker is currently being charged with failure to comply with the order of a police officer, fleeing and eluding. He is also wanted for aggravated burglary, disrupting public service, domestic violence and theft in connection with an incident involving a different ex-girlfriend two days earlier, police said.

Cuyahoga Falls detectives and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation staff were at the scene into the early morning hours of Sunday, police said. Evidence collected is being sent to the BCI crime lab for analysis, police said.

The officer who fired into the vehicle is a 2 1/2 year veteran of the department and has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to the release.

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