Columbus police and the Ohio Attorney General’s office on Oct. 25 revealed a charge against Rebecca Auborn, a 33-year-old woman officials say is a serial killer. Here’s what we know about the case.
Who is Rebecca Auborn?
Auborn, who is 33 years old, is from Columbus’s Northeast Side. She hadn’t been in trouble with the law before earlier this year, when cops say she started meeting guys for sex and giving them drugs to rob them.
Records show that Auburn has at least one child. In November 2016, her daughter died when she was 18 days old.
What is she accused of doing?
Authorities say Auborn met guys in Columbus hotels for sex, gave them drugs, and then robbed them. In at least four of those talks, the guys died of drugs. The attorney general’s office said that a fifth person was still alive.
The indictment says the drug deaths happened on January 15, April 1, April 13, and June 17. On December 13, the person who lived there met Auborn.
Hotel rooms on Columbus’s Northeast Side, near I-71, State Route 161, Cleveland Avenue, and East 17th Avenue are thought to have been where the talks took place.
Authorities charged Auborn in September with the case that led to the death of a 30-year-old man on January 15.
Court papers from another case show that Auburn told police that she put fentanyl in a man’s crack pipe after having sex with him.
According to court records, Auborn told police that she knew the guy was overdosing but took his car and bank card anyway.
What are the charges against Auburn?
The charges against Auburn were made public on Wednesday. He is accused of four counts of murder and four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the deaths.
She is also charged with five counts of violent theft, five counts of felonious assault, five counts of drugging someone, one count of messing with evidence, and four counts of drug dealing.
The charges are all crimes. If Auborn is found guilty of all charges, she could spend decades in jail.
How did the investigation start?
Their office said in a news statement that the probe began after the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force got a tip.
The AG’s office said that the tip said a woman was meeting “johns” at hotels in Northeast Columbus, giving them drugs, and then stealing their stuff.
Drug deaths occurred in the vicinity of Interstate 71, Route 161, Cleveland Avenue, and East 17th Avenue between December 2022 and August 2023. Police are still looking into these deaths.
Why is Auborn being called a serial killer?
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost told the Dispatch he feels Auborn meets the criteria for a serial killer because she has more than three deaths allegedly connected to her, all of which have a similar pattern.
“I’ve never seen a case similar to this in my career, and having talked to colleagues, they haven’t seen this kind of thing,” Yost said.
Definitions of serial killers can vary.
Yost also expressed concern that Auborn’s actions could result in work his office has done to promote awareness about human trafficking being undone.
“It would be a real injustice if the actions of this individual were an impediment to other survivors of human trafficking. Most of the women who are survivors are victims,” he said. “They are not predators, they are the prey of the predators.”
What are the police saying about the case?
When asked for a statement Thursday morning, Columbus police said they are not giving talks to the media at this time. But the police have asked anyone with information to call 614-645-2228 and leave a message.
When he talked to the Dispatch, Yost didn’t give any more information about the case.
What’s going to happen next?
Auborn’s next court date is in Franklin County Common Pleas Court for a hearing.
A judge will set Auborn’s release at that meeting, and he or she will likely plead not guilty. After that, a hearing date will be set for the case.