Upper Sandusky, OH – A Black man wielding a machete was arrested for allegedly killing a White newlywed on New Year’s Day, shocking a quiet Ohio town that hasn’t experienced a single homicide in over 20 years.
The victim, 22-year-old Keris L. Riebel—who is White—was fatally slashed while working her shift at the local dollar store, authorities confirmed on Jan. 2nd.
According to reports, the suspect, a 27-year-old Ethiopian, Bethel M. Bekele, entered the business before 4:30 p.m., swinging the weapon and brutally striking Riebel “numerous times with the machete.” Officials have simply declared the attack as “random.”
Riebel, a newlywed, had just gotten married to her husband, Jordan, two months ago in October. The two were looking to start a family together and had recently adopted a puppy, Riebel’s GoFundMe page stated.
After the attack, Bekele fled the shop but was soon apprehended and taken into custody, with police finding the machete abandoned at the scene. A charge for one count of murder was submitted to Upper Sandusky Municipal Court, according to Police Chief Lucas.
The 911 call made during the assault detailed the eyewitness account of what they observed:
“He’s wearing all black. He walked out … when we went into the car … She fell down straight to the ground. He hit her in the back of the neck.”911 Caller
“At this time, the motive is unclear. Detectives are currently investigating what, if any, relationship exists between the victim and suspect,” the Upper Sandusky Police Department said in a Facebook post, detailing that more charges against the suspect could follow upon the completion of the investigation.
Wyandot County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Figlewicz classified the attack as “random, sudden, and unprovoked” in his written argument for denying bond to Bekele, also stating that Bekele continued to attack Riebel as she was on the ground. His next court date, according to records, is on the 11th.
A source close to the matter told the Justice Report that Bekele lived in Upper Sandusky for about four months in low-income housing initially built for poor locals but began to serve as a magnet for out-of-town criminals. Our source disclosed that police have been lobbying the city to stop this housing expansion, as approximately 80% of all crime occurs within these housing complexes.
Riebel was well regarded by friends, family, and regulars of the store she worked at, with one individual saying:
“She was always so nice and so caring. Very bubbly, very outgoing and the type of person who’d like take the shirt off her back for anybody and not hurt a fly, honestly. I can’t imagine going through that, even to lose a child at all. I have a 17-year-old and just the thought of that… It really hits hard.”Kevin Simonis
Meanwhile, her husband has been left to pick up the pieces in the wake of his wife’s tragic slaying. A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist with the costs of a funeral and any additional needs the family may have during these difficult times.
Jordan and Keris were newlyweds who had a bright future ahead of them. Anyone who met the two could see how much love and adoration they had for each other.
Jordan is left with the expense of the funeral and burial along with lost wages for taking time off work to grieve. Keris was a beautiful soul and anyone who met her would say how sweet and kind she was. Keris just graduated with her bachelors degree in Human Resources and was looking forward to starting her career. Jordan and Keris were also looking forward to having children and most recently a puppy and starting their new lives together.GoFundMe page
The Black violence epidemic that currently plagues the United States has only made stories like these more commonplace across local headlines throughout the country. In Kentucky, a 16-year-old White girl was executed after being shot in the head by a Black man over a fallen bag of marijuana. At a Walmart in Ohio, a Black career criminal was arrested after allegedly shooting and killing a White father-to-be as he attempted to flee the scene of a robbery. The incident, police said, was over stolen cell phone cases.
The Justice Report’s coverage of the killing of White newlywed Keris Riebel is ongoing, and this article will be updated as new details emerge.
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