Neighbor charged in missing man’s death

SIDNEY — With the arrest of a neighbor on a murder charge, police believe they have solved the mystery of why a Sidney man disappeared almost three weeks ago, but the search for James N. Cole’s body continued Friday.

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Sidney Police arrested Michael J. Wood, 39, of 412 Brookburn St., on Thursday and charged him in the death of Cole, 78. There is one house between Cole’s home at 330 Brookburn St., and Wood’s home.

Wood is charged with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony. He appeared by video arraignment in Sidney Municipal Court Friday. Judge Duane Goettemoeller ordered him to remain in the Shelby County Jail without bond and continued the case until 9 a.m. Nov. 13 in order for Wood to obtain an attorney. Wood did not enter a plea.

Police Chief William Balling said that through the course of the investigation, police learned that Cole was a victim of a homicide. He said Friday that police are looking for Cole’s body and are following up on leads.

A break in the case that led to Wood’s arrest occurred when a witness came forward, but authorities declined to say what the motive was in the killing and acknowledged that Cole and Wood were acquaintances.

Cole was reported missing Oct. 14 and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office added his case to its statewide alerts for missing people.