Man charged with tampering in connection with death

A Sandusky man was arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in connection with an investigation into the death of a Port Clinton man on Saturday.

James R. Bell, 40, of Sandusky, was arrested Monday on a warrant out of Ottawa County Municipal Court. Bell was charged with tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and is being held at the Ottawa County Detention Facility.

According to the Port Clinton Police Department, the arrest is connected to the investigation into the death of Harold Carter, 47, of Port Clinton.

On Tuesday, a news release from Chief Rob Hickman of the Port Clinton Police Department said the investigation into the death is still pending. The Ottawa County Drug Task Force is assisting Port Clinton officers with that investigation.

Detective Sgt. Corbin Carpenter said the department felt Bell’s arrest was “prudent,” but because the investigation remains ongoing, the exact nature of Bell’s alleged involvement was not disclosed.

“We are performing a complete investigation to find out exactly what happened to Mr. Carter,” Carpenter said.

Carter was found dead in the back yard on Saturday near Bay Meadows apartments, 1195 W. Fremont Road in Port Clinton, where according to police.

Officers were initially dispatched to the area after another resident called 911 around 8 a.m. to report that a person was “passed out” in the grass without a shirt on. North Central EMS arrived shortly after the officers.

Around 20 minutes after the 911 call, officers informed police dispatchers that the person, later identified as Carter, was deceased.

The county coroner, Daniel Cadigan, and County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan then responded to the scene to evaluate the situation, according to a news release.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation also responded and assisted at the scene.

Carter’s body was taken to the Lucas County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy, which as of Tuesday afternoon had not been completed.

Bell has a lengthy criminal history in Ottawa County, including numerous drug related charges for which he was convicted in the late 1990s, including possession of and trafficking in crack cocaine and permitting drug abuse.

According to court records, Bell was a former resident of the area where Carter’s body was found.

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