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Kenneth Roth murdered Linda Van Voorhis Smith, but did he kill others? Evil Lives Here investigates

Mugshot of Kenneth Roth
Nobody knows for sure exactly how many people Kenneth Roth murdered. Pic credit: Ohio Dept. of Corrections

Evil Lives Here is investigating the murder of Linda Van Voorhis Smith, who was strangled to death by Kenneth Roth at her home in the Osnaburg Township, near East Canton, Ohio.

The cops also suspect that Roth may have been involved in the unsolved murders of three other people in the area but could not find enough evidence to convict.

On December 11, 2009, the body of 61-year-old nurse and grandmother Linda Smith was found strangled to death at her home in the Osnaburg Township. Smith was lying face down on her bedroom floor and had been strangled with her own clothes, and her body had also been mutilated.

Smith’s home had no signs of forced entry, which led the cops to suspect she had known her killer. The police turned their focus to her handyman, Kenneth Roth, who failed to account for his whereabouts at the time of the murder. He later admitted he’d been to her home on the day of the murder but insisted he wasn’t the killer.

However, the cops kept their focus on their suspect and were eventually rewarded when Roth’s DNA profile matched the sample found on Smith’s underwear.

In 2017, Roth was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Kenneth Roth is a suspected serial killer

It wasn’t Roth’s first murder conviction; he and two accomplices had robbed and murdered a taxi driver in Kansas in 1968. He was held in a Kansas prison until he was paroled in 1985 when he returned to the East Canton area of Ohio, where he grew up.

And the cops suspect he may have killed others. During the Smith investigation, they noticed a similarity to three other unsolved cases in the area. Kay Gulosh, Patricia Murphy, and Julia Harbourt were three single-middle-aged women killed in a similar manner to Smith between 1985 and 1993.

And Roth could be connected to all three victims. His car was spotted near the Gulosh crime scene. He had been Murphy’s maintenance man and possible boyfriend. And he’d installed a security alarm for Harbourt.

Unfortunately, the cops could not establish firmer evidence to connect Roth to these murders; DNA testing remained inconclusive, which left these crimes unsolved.

More from Evil Lives Here

Follow the links to read about more murders profiled by Evil Lives Here.

Christopher Duntsch, aka Dr. Death, botched 35 of the 38 spinal surgeries he conducted in two years. His medical malpractice led to the deaths of Floella Brown and Kelli Martin.

Gary Green stabbed his wife, Lovetta Armstead, and then drowned her daughter Jazzmen Montgomery before her two sons managed to persuade him to spare their lives in this particularly horrible case of anger and jealously.

Evil Lives Here airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

Jerry was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, but is now based in the UK. He specializes in true crime and entertainment news stories. When not writing for Monsters and Critics he loves watching...read more

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