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Craigslist ad victim? Police identify another body

CLEVELAND -- Authorities identified the body of an Ohio man Saturday who could be the third victim of a bogus Craigslist website ad that lured two jobseekers to their deaths.

The body of Ralph H. Geiger, 56, was found in a shallow grave Nov. 25 in the same area another body was found earlier in the month in the heavily wooded area in southeastern Ohio, Noble County Sheriff Steve Hannum said.

Hannum, under a gag order from a judge, did not say whether Geiger answered the same ad promising farmhand work that authorities say led to the deaths of two other men.

"Recent events of an ongoing investigation led authorities to Mr. Geiger's gravesite," Hannum said in a statement.

The body of Geiger, whose last known address was Akron, Ohio, was the third found in Ohio that might be linked to the Craigslist ad. 

A South Carolina man, Scott Davis, survived a shooting attack in rural Noble County, Ohio, on Nov. 6 when he answered an ad looking for a ranch hand. Davis was shot while running away from two men he met when he responded to the ad.

One of the three bodies was found in a shallow grave on Nov. 15 near where Davis was shot; it was identified as David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Virginia. A second body was found in a shallow grave on Nov. 25 behind a semi-deserted mall in Akron, Ohio.

The third body, Geiger's, was also discovered Nov. 25. A coroner's report released on Saturday said Geiger died of a gunshot to the head. No date of death was given but the report said the body was moderately decomposed. Geiger's family was notified.

After Davis survived the attack, 16-year-old Brogan Rafferty was arrested and charged with attempted murder and murder in juvenile court. His next hearing is Dec. 15.

Another man named by the FBI as a suspect in the shooting, Richard J. Beasley, 52, is in prison in Summit County, Ohio, on unrelated drug and prostitution charges.

The phony ad was posted on Craigslist Oct. 7 and offered $300 a week to "simply watch over a 688 acre patch of hilly farmland."

The case is under a gag order issued from a judge in Noble County, Ohio but the sheriff's office said they found Geiger's grave site through the ongoing investigation.

There have been several instances in recent years of attackers allegedly finding victims through postings on the classified ad website Craigslist.

In 2009, a former medical student was accused of killing a masseuse he met through Craigslist, and police have been hunting for at least one serial killer in the New York area thought to prey on prostitutes who advertised on the site.

This article contains reporting from The Associated Press and Reuters.