Gallipolis– Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning announced today that charges have been filed against a Springfield Townshiman in connection to the death of Betsy Ball, 67, of Morgan Township, Gallia County, Ohio. Mrs. Ball was discovered missing on March 1, 2012 in the early morning hours.

Gallia County Deputies responded along with other emergency service workers and searched for Mrs. Ball in the area around her home. After receiving a phone tip, her body was discovered later that day in a rural area off of Piper Road near the Village of Vinton.

Lee Hawkins, age 47, Skidmore Road, Bidwell, Ohio was arrested on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 by Gallia County Deputies and Ohio BCI&I agents.  Hawkins is charged with aggravatedmurder, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse.  Charges against Hawkins have stemmed from the investigation into the death of Mrs. Ball who, according to preliminary autopsy reports released by county coroner Daniel Whitely, died primarily as a result of strangulation. Hawkins was a farm worker that had been employed by the Ball’s at their family farm.

Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning stated that the expertise and assistance rendered by the Ohio Attorney Generals BCI&I and the Gallia County Prosecutors Office as well Sheriff’s Deputies and staff at the GCSO was invaluable in solving the case.  “Our public can rest assured that we have pursued every lead brought to us, and plan to aggressively prosecute the responsible party in these types of heinous crimes.” Anyone with information on any crime that occurred in Gallia County can call our tip line and leave a message at 740-446-6555.

Media can obtain a suspect photo by contacting the Gallia County Jail at 740-446-4612 ext. 264or 263. Suspect photos are also on our website at




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