Updates 1/3/23: 911 call released.
Bekele was taken to Wyandot County Municipal Court today for an arraignment. He was charged with murder. Police say the attack was “random, sudden, and unprovoked.” Family and friends of the victim have stated similar things on social media.
We learned that the confessed killer moved to Upper Sandusky, Ohio, from North Carolina six months ago. A bond hearing is scheduled for January 11th.
Bekele told the judge he used to work at Bob Evans, but was currently unemployed. He said he has $1,300 in the bank and is leasing a car.
Police stated that, besides his confession, they have eyewitnesses and surveillance video.
On New Year’s Day, Keris L. Riebel, 22, was working as a cashier at Dollar Tree in Upper Sandusky, Ohio.
According to police, Bethel M. Bekele, 27, walked into the store around 4:25 PM waving a machete. Police received a phone call and dispatched officers.
When the police arrived, they found Riebel hacked to death.
Police say Bekele went to the police station afterwards, surrendered, and confessed. So far, no prior connection between Bekele and Riebel has been found. Police say they are still looking for a motive.
Upper Sandusky is the county seat of rural Wyandot County. Chief of Police Jason Lucas says it was the town’s first murder since 2001. It has 6,500 people and is listed as 0.1% Black by the US census.
Local media say they can not find any past criminal record. There was no room to house him at the Wyandot County jail safely, so he was transferred to neighboring Wood County. Mugshots were taken and released by both county jails.