To the eyes of unemployed men, the advertisement on Craigslist offering $300 a week, a free trailer, and unlimited fishing to “watch over a 688 acre patch of hilly farmland and feed a few cows,” may have seemed like a sign that their luck was turning, says the New York Times. In a scheme so macabre that Ohio residents are speculating on when it will be turned into a movie script, three men, one from Virginia, one from the Akron area and one still unidentified, were lured to their deaths, their bodies buried in shallow graves.
A fourth man, from South Carolina, who was hired and driven to the property in rural southern Ohio, was shot in the arm but escaped and alerted the authorities. The “farm” was in fact land owned by a coal company. More bodies may be found, as the bogus advertisement, which was picked up by online job aggregators, drew more than 100 responses from Ohio and other states. Police have suggested robbery as a motive, but other theories include identity theft and, perhaps more chilling, simply a desire to kill. The perpetrators appeared to be looking for loners who would not be missed.