Stephanie Hummer, the missing Ohio State college coed who was later found dead in a field, will have her dramatic life and death profiled on Investigation Discovery’s hit TV series, Unusual Suspects. The episode that will reenact Stephanie Hummer’s case is called “End Of The Line,” which will chronicle how a vibrant college student disappeared after a Sunday afternoon walk, and the police hunt that took over a decade to find her killer. Expect the usual commentators to provide their perspectives, such as law enforcement and people close to the victim. Her killer, Jonathan Gravely, is serving time in an Ohio correctional facility.
Stephanie Hummer, 18, vanished from a back alley near her N. High Street and 13th Avenue dorm in 1994. She was last seen by some friends who said that she left the group to visit a friend in an apartment near the campus. The honors student was living at the Evans Scholar House while she attended Ohio State, where she received a golf-caddie scholarship.
Her disappearance shocked her friends and left the entire college community anguished after her body was found several days later. Police were alerted after a train employee saw the missing woman’s body near the tracks. Investigators say Stephanie Hummer was found wearing only underwear.
Confident and driven, Stephanie Hummer was a woman who wasn’t afraid to pursue her dreams, leaving police to wonder who would have wanted to snuff out the young lady’s life when she had so much to offer the world. A $16,000 reward was offered to the person who had information about her death.
In the months and years after Stephanie Hummer’s murder, there were several other abductions and killings. And for a while, it was speculated that Hummer’s crime could have committed by one of the other suspects. DNA eventually ruled all of them out. However, more than a decade later, DNA evidence brought another suspect into focus. Back in 1992, police did a thorough job of collecting and saving the evidence, and that DNA evidence matched Jonathan Gravely—a man who police say was never on their radar.
By the time Jonathan Gravely was arrested in 2006, he was a family man and was considered a generally good person who had no problems with the law, until he was arrested for failure to pay child support for one of his children. Jonathan Gravely, then 35, was once a high school track star whose life went off course. He lived the next several years trying to stay out of trouble, which he confirmed in a court statement, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
“I have not lived a life of crime, but what I did on that date was inexcusable. () I want to apologize to the Hummer family for what I’ve done.”
The prosecution wanted to seek the death penalty but allowed Jonathan Gravely to bargain under a plea deal, which he accepted. He eventually pleaded guilty and confessed to the murder.
For the kidnap, rape, and murder of Stephanie Hummer, Jonathan Gravely was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. His conviction does little to console Stephanie Hummer’s parents who are dedicated to keeping the killer off of the streets when he is up for parole, and they agree that no matter what kind of good life he led in the years after her murder, he is still a killer. The Hummers made the following statement in court in 2007, as published by the Columbus Dispatch.
“If he had remorse, he would have come forward right out of the gate. Look at it this way: If he had made that deal back then, his time would almost be up. He’s had his time to walk on this planet. () There’s only one guilty, evil man here. There’s good and evil. This man chose evil. I’ll forever know that Stephanie died alone and in terror trying to run for her life.”
Sadly, Stephanie Hummer’s mother, Susan Hummer, passed away in 2015. To see how Unusual Suspects dramatizes the Stephanie Hummer, Jonathan Gravely story, tune in to Investigation Discovery (ID) tonight at 9/8 p.m. central. The case of Darlene Saddler and Stephanie Bennett were also previously profiled on Unusual Suspects.
[Image via Facebook/Ohio Dept. Of Corrections]