Autopsies performed in 2 homicide cases

By Joe Gorman


It was a busy day Monday at the Mahoning County Coroner’s office.

Autopsies were performed in the suspected homicide of Special Sierra Strickland, 28; and the possible murder/suicide of Bianca Arter, who was in her 40s, and her 17-year-old son, Javier.

Strickland was found about 9 a.m. Friday with several gunshot wounds behind a church on Belmont Avenue.

The Arters were found Saturday afternoon in their home in the 2100 block of Volney Road. Detective Sgt. Mike Lambert, lead investigator, said it appeared the two had been dead for several days before they were found.

Lambert said the bodies were too badly decomposed to determine who might have been shot first. He said it is hoped the autopsy will be able to clear that up.

Police were called to the home by Arter’s ex-husband, who had not heard from her or his son for several days, Lambert said. He said the house was locked up from the inside, and police had to remove an air conditioner from the window to get inside, which is when they discovered the bodies.

The Mahoning County Dog Warden also was called to the scene to take a dog that was in the home.

Strickland was found by a custodian in an alley behind Centenary United Methodist Church, who in turn called police. Detectives estimated she had been there between 12 and 36 hours, and they believe she was killed there.

Court records show Strickland had three misdemeanor drug cases each in 2013 and 2014 in municipal court and one in 2011. She was charged with a felony in 2013, where she entered an intervention in lieu of a conviction plea in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, where she was ordered to undergo rehabilitation. She ended up serving a year’s probation in that case, according to court records.

Anyone with information on Strickland’s death is asked to call Crimestoppers Youngstown at 330-746-CLUE or the police department at 330-742-8929.

The deaths raise the city’s homicide total for 2016 to 17. én 2015, Youngstown had 23 homicides. At this time last year there were 16 homicides in the city.