Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Franklin County Sheriffs Office and the Licking County Sheriffs Office have collaborated to make an arrest on a cold case homicide investigation from each respective county.
On August 5 2022, Robert Edwards age 67 of Columbus Ohio was arrested on a charge of Aggravated Murder and then later indicted for Aggravated Murder for both the Franklin and Licking County cases by a Franklin County Grand Jury.
On November 7, 1996, the body of a female was discovered in the 1000 block of James Rd in Granville Township. Licking County Sheriff’s Detectives submitted photos of the female to news media hoping to identify her. She was later identified by family members as Michelle Pass-Dawson age 36, of Columbus Ohio. Although DNA was discovered on Michelle’s body during an autopsy, there was no match in the national database.
In 2017 Licking County and Franklin County Sheriff’s Offices were advised there was a match in DNA in our 1996 cold case homicide case as well as a cold case homicide in franklin County. Detectives obtained DNA samples from a person of interest from that DNA sample and were able to rule this person out because the DNA did not match.
In 2021, BCI requested to conduct a familial DNA search in CODIS. The Combined DNA Index System is the United States national DNA database created and maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. During this search, Robert Edwards age 67 of Columbus was named as a suspect for the murder of Michelle Dawson in Licking County and Alma Renee Lake in Franklin County.
Search warrants for his DNA were acquired and his standard was submitted for comparison. His DNA did match in both cases. After numerous interviews and thorough investigation, the arrest was made on Robert Edwards and he was subsequently indicted for Aggravated Murder on both cases.
Sheriff Randy Thorp
Licking County Sheriff