October 21, 2013

10/21/05: Daniel Trautman, 27, Columbus, OH

Do you have any information in this homicide?

Daniel Trautman disappeared eight years ago today. His homicide is unsolved.

Daniel Trautman 
Daniel Trautman
, a 27-year-old loan officer from Columbus, Oh. was last seen leaving Woo Doggies Bar and Grill in the greater Columbus area between 3 and 3:30 a.m. on Oct. 21, 2005. 

The now defunct bar was located at 5257 WestPointe Plaza Drive in Hilliard, near the WestPointe Shopping Plaza. The area is about 15 minutes West of Columbus. Trautman was last seen near Hilliard-Rome Road, which is about a block from the bar.

Four days later, his mother, Carolyn Mills, found his car in the bar's parking lot and reported him missing.

According to reports, a bar employee told the authorities that Trautman left the bar with two other men that night, one of whom was an acquaintance of his and one whom was not. Neither of the two men have told police anything valuable. 

The police processed Daniel's clothes for DNA evidence, and conducted searches of homes, vehicles, and the bar several times without result.

On a warm, sunny day one week later, on Oct. 29, a farmer harvesting corn discovered Daniel's body in a field about 50 feet off Carters Mill Road in eastern Madison CountyDaniel's bank card and $3 were found in the pocket of his jeans.

The body had sustained injuries to his head, and it was impossible to tell what kind of weapon was used. The cause of death was head trauma. The Madison County sheriff's office speculated that Trautman was killed on the night he disappeared, then his body left in the cornfield after having been dragged, carried or tossed from a nearby pull-off where his killers most likely parked their vehicle.

Authorities think Daniel was probably killed the night he was last seen, but the motive is unknown. They say he had no known enemies, owed no one money and that drugs were not a factor.

But he was drunk that night, and something happened.

"We have looked at every possible angle," said detective Bill Gillette, a homicide detective with the Columbus Division of Police. "Of everything we've looked at, nothing is leading us to a particular path," Gillette said. "That's the frustrating part." (Columbus Dispatch, 10/26/05.)

Daniel Trautman (cont.)

According to a 2008 report by 10TV News, police do not believe that Daniel died in the field where he was found. There was very little blood at the scene, so the authorities believe his body was placed there after death. "If police can find the scene where Trautman was killed," Maureen Kocot reported, "they think they can uncover other clues in the case. Police said the men who left the bar with Trautman have been "uncooperative" with detectives.

About Daniel Trautman

According to a report by the Columbus Dispatch, Daniel Trautman had a love of the outdoors. He enjoyed parasailing, boating, fishing, hiking, and was passionate about climbing.

A few years before Daniel died, he was living with his mother in her Far West Side condominium. He had been working as a manager at high-end restaurants since high school, and the late nights with the bar crowd made it hard to stay sober. 

By early 2005, his mother urged him to enter rehab.
By late summer, everyone thought he had turned the corner. In the weeks before he disappeared, he had landed a new job offering more money and better hours as a loan officer at Allied Mortgage Co. on Trabue Road. He moved into an apartment. He adopted a kitten, an orange tiger he called Lola. 
Chris Campbell, now a 33-year-old banker who lives in Upper Arlington, had been friends with Daniel for a couple of years by then and hired him at Allied.
"He was a sharp guy, pretty quick on his feet. He was always joking around and had a great personality," Campbell said. "I knew he had had some issues. When I hired him, he'd turned things around. He was really grateful for my help, and I was thrilled to see that he was on track and going to be all right."

But somehow, on October 21, Daniel ended up "at a bar he'd never frequented and left with men he didn't really know."

His mother had just seen him the day before when she picked up his paycheck to deposit for him because he was working until 8 p.m. When he didn't call her the next day as usual, she called the mortgage company to find out he hadn't shown up for work.

According to the article, his cell phone had been broken, so she grew worried that he had become stranded somewhere.
She visited his apartment, a place he'd moved into only six days before. A box containing equipment for his Internet hookup was on the front porch; its receipt said it had been delivered the day before, so she knew he hadn't been home.
She let herself in with a key. Lola hadn't been fed. Daniel's personal stuff was in the bathroom, so she ruled out a spontaneous road trip.
Carolyn spent the weekend calling friends and driving the countryside looking for clues. She reported Daniel missing on Monday, the day she spotted his car in the bar parking lot.
By that time, she knew. "He should have gotten to a phone by then, somewhere, somehow," she said. "I knew I was just going to have to wait it out."

Detective Bill Gillette broke then news to Carolyn Mills the night of Saturday, Oct. 29, shortly after she had returned from posting missing person fliers and looking for her son. Her son had been found deceased. He hadn't been robbed or shot, but his death was brutal and had been personal.

"I wonder what it could have been that he did, something that could have made this person that angry," she told the Columbus Dispatch.

Daniel's ashes were scattered at his favorite place, an Arizona mountain.


(Reprinted from "Cold case timeline," The Columbus Dispatch, April 26, 2010.)
Oct. 20, 2005

8 p.m.: Daniel heads to Woo Doggies after work. Sometime later that night, he and a couple of men leave and visit a nearby strip club. They return and stay until the bar closes.

Oct. 21

Between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m.: Records show that Daniel tried to pay a bar tab with his bank card and it was repeatedly declined.

Between 3 and 3:30 a.m.: Daniel and two other men pile into a car and leave the parking lot, a bar employee says. No one knew where they were going.

Oct. 21

1 p.m.: Daniel doesn't show up for work.

3 p.m.: Carolyn Mills visits her son's apartment and finds that his kitten hasn't been fed, and she notes that a package left on the doorstep had a delivery date of the day before. She spends the weekend tracking down his friends.

Oct. 24

Carolyn Mills files a missing-person report with Columbus police. She talks to more friends and co-workers and discovers that the last place Daniel had been seen was Woo Doggies. She goes there and finds his car. It yields no clues.

Oct. 29

12:50 p.m.: A farmer harvesting corn finds Daniel's body in a field along Carters Mill Road in eastern Madison County. Authorities believe the body was dumped there after Daniel was killed somewhere else the night he disappeared.

Crime Stoppers is offering up to $5,000 for information leading to a conviction in this case. Tips can be left anonymously at 614-461-8477 or online at www.stopcrime.org (select the "submit a tip" tab). Information, without promise of the reward, can be directed to the Columbus Police Division's unsolved-case review team at 740-852-1332.


Zachariah, Holly. (2010, April 26.) Many questions, few leads in 2005 slaying. The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved October 10, 2013 from http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2010/04/26/many-questions-few-leads.html

Staff Report. (2010, April 26). Cold case timeline. The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved October 10, 2013 from

Staff Report. (2008, October 29). Tips Still Sought in Man's 2005 Slaying. 10tv.com. Retrieved October 10, 2013 from
(Note: Daniel's name was listed as "Troutman" in this article.)

Published: 10/21/13.


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