Grinnell Road ‘shootout’— Investigation continues in double fatal shooting
- Published: February 27, 2020
Greene County authorities say that the investigation into the double fatal shooting outside a home on Grinnell Road, just south of Yellow Springs, on Wednesday, Feb. 12, could take weeks to complete.
Sheriff Gene Fischer last week likened the altercation in the driveway of 3443 Grinnell Road, the home of Lindsey and Molly Duncan, to a “shootout.”
Dead at the scene were Lindsey Duncan’s ex-wife, Cheryl Sanders, 59, and her current husband, Robert Reed Sanders, 56.
Greene County Coroner Kevin Sharrett said last week that preliminary autopsies showed the pair died of multiple gunshot wounds.
At a press conference Thursday, Sheriff Fischer described the incident as a “domestic situation” that may have had something to do with money, though the circumstances that led to the Feb. 12 confrontation were still being determined, he said.
A 911 call at about 11:07 a.m., Feb. 12, from an agitated-sounding woman, later identified as Molly Duncan, reported that someone was shooting at her husband.
Less than a minute into the call, she screams, “Oh, my god,” and then can be heard saying, “It’s his ex-wife,” as gun shots are heard in the background. After another approximately 30 seconds, a man identifying himself as Robert Lindsey Duncan got on the call and reported that he had shot a man and a woman who had come at him and his wife with guns.
When asked if they knew who the people were, Molly said the woman was Duncan’s ex-wife. They said they didn’t know who the man was.
“They’ve been trying to kill us for years now,” Molly told the 911 operator.
The call lasted a little over eight minutes, during which time Lindsey Duncan can be heard telling a distraught Molly that “you’re safe now.” The call ended when the first responders, Cedarville police officers, arrived.
A sheriff deputy’s body camera and cruiser video showed deputies arriving at the scene, across from the former Camp Greene, at about 11:18 a.m. An ambulance arrived about the same time.
Four other 911 calls came in from neighbors and passersby while the Duncans remained on the line with the 911 operator.
A neighbor on nearby Glen Road called at 11:08 a.m. to report hearing “people yelling” and “multiple shots.”
At 11:09 a.m., a neighbor on Grinnell reported “I just heard a bunch of gunshots … [and} “a bunch of screaming.”
A local woman called at 11:10 a.m. to describe driving by and seeing “a man shooting at a woman right across from the opening of Camp [Greene]. … I saw a woman jump out of her car. A guy told her to stop and shot her … three or four times.”
Another motorist who drove by the scene called at 11:15 a.m. to report, “I’m on Grinnell Road and I just passed two cars and two people lying on the ground and a man with a gun.”
Initial description of events
Sheriff Fischer last week said the altercation appeared to have been an “ambush” planned by the ex-wife and her husband.
“The male homeowner did fire shots in defense, it appears,” Fischer said, speaking to the reporters about 90 minutes after the shooting Wednesday.
He said investigators’ preliminary understanding of the sequence of events, based on their initial observations of the scene and the Duncans’ statements to deputies, begins when the Duncans pull into the driveway of their gated home after being out Wednesday morning.
A man, later identified as Robert Reed Sanders, reportedly approached the car on foot, carrying a gun. Fischer said Lindsey Duncan, who was in the passenger side of his car, got out of the vehicle with his own gun, exchanged words and then gunfire with Sanders. Fischer added that Duncan has a conceal carry license.
Lindsey Duncan’s ex-wife, Cheryl Sanders, then pulled up in a car, got out yelling and carrying a gun, and also exchanged gun fire, Fischer said.
Reed Sanders apparently crossed the road at some point during the altercation, according to authorities. Redacted cruiser video of the scene appears briefly to show a figure lying on the ground by the entrance to Camp Greene. Cheryl Sanders’ body was found lying near the driver’s side of the Duncan’s vehicle, according to reports.
Neither Lindsey nor Molly Duncan were injured. The pair are seen in the heavily redacted video hugging, with Lindsey appearing to comfort Molly, while standing near a dark SUV parked by their driveway. A white SUV is seen pulled into the driveway, outside the gated entry.
On Thursday, Fischer said deputies found a pair of small cameras set up on a stump across from the Duncans’ home, as well as a cell phone in ex-wife Cheryl Sanders’ car that appeared to be monitoring images from the cameras. In addition, the car the ex-wife was driving, which authorities say belonged to the Sanders, had counterfeit Ohio temporary tags. Also, Robert Sanders, who went by Reed, was carrying multiple forms of identification, Fischer said.
He also said that Lindsey Duncan had contacted the sheriff’s office about five years ago to report that he believed his ex-wife was trying to hire someone to kill him.
Duncans address press
On Friday, the Duncans invited members of the press to the meeting room of the Yellow Springs Library, where they appeared with Springfield-based attorney Gregory Lind and a handful of unidentified supporters to give brief statements about the shooting.
Lindsey Duncan opened his remarks by thanking the sheriff’s office for its sensitivity in handling the case, describing deputies as using “kid gloves” in their interactions with him and his wife.
At the conclusion of the gathering, which lasted less than eight minutes, he added that the sheriff’s description of the incident as an ambush is accurate.
“Sheriff Fischer used the exact right word,” Duncan said.
“An ambush is exactly what it was,” Molly Duncan said. “We were caught off guard. They said nothing and then they started shooting at us,” she said of the Sanders.
Lindsey Duncan told reporters that he and Molly had been in downtown Yellow Springs getting coffee and breakfast Wednesday morning before returning home, when “all of a sudden, hell began.”
He said that the man who approached their car wore a “camo” ski mask and held his gun “about 10 inches from [Molly’s] head.”
Duncan described his own reaction as “pure instinct.”
“Whatever happened wasn’t me, it was instinct,” he said.
A tearful Molly Duncan said she was grateful to be alive.
“I’m a mother, and I still get to see my children grow up,” she said.
Lindsey Duncan, 57, who has been called a “celebrity nutritionist,” is the former head of Genesis Today, a multi-level marketing health and wellness company whose products included green coffee bean extract weight-loss supplements and other nutritional supplements, which he promoted on such national television shows as “Dr. Oz” and “The View.”
In 2015, he settled a suit with the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, where he agreed to pay $9 million after being accused of “deceptively” touting “the supposed weight-loss benefits of green coffee bean extract through a campaign” that included television appearances, according to a Jan. 26, 2015, FTC statement.
He reportedly left Genesis Today soon after the settlement, and his current corporate affiliations are unclear.
He has two college-age daughters from his marriage to Cheryl Sanders.
Duncan’s ex-wife, also known as Cheryl Wheeler, Cheryl Dixon and Cheryl Duncan, was a spokesperson for health and fitness products — at one time promoting Lindsey Duncan’s products — and a movie stunt woman, working on more than 70 films, according to her IMDb, or Internet Movie Database, profile.
Cheryl Sanders’ neighbors, colleagues and friends have expressed shock and incredulity on social media that she died under the circumstances described by authorities. Reed Sanders, who reportedly married Cheryl in 2015, is similarly remembered. The pair appear together in online videos promoting health and wellness products.
Sheriff Fisher said last week that Reed Sanders had a criminal record, but declined to elaborate.
Records located online show that Lindsey Duncan sued his ex-wife in 2016 for defamation of character, accusing her of spreading false claims about his background and products.
Lindsey Duncan’s current wife, Molly, 37, grew up in Clark County. Her maiden name was Blair, and she has two minor-age boys from a previous marriage, which ended in a dissolution in 2013. Their names and the name of her ex-husband are being withheld by the News as they appear to have no connection to last week’s shooting.
The Duncans’ Grinnell Road house was built on land purchased from the Oldham family in October 2014. The Greene County Auditor’s Office shows the current property owner as FATY LLC.
Ohio Secretary of State records list the LLC’s original agent, in August 2014, as Dean Ray Blair. The agent listing changed in April 2015 to Darla A. Northup, wth R. Lindsey Duncan signing as an authorized representative of FATY LLC.
The house and property have been on the market since this past September with an asking price of just under $4 million.
Although authorities think they have an understanding of what happened Feb. 12, the investigation will continue for at least several weeks, according to Fischer and Greene County First Assistant Prosecutor Suzanne Schmidt, who also attended the Thursday press conference.
Coroner Sharrett said final results from the full autopsies could take up to six weeks as well.
The sheriff’s office and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, or BCI, which was called in immediately after the shooting, will be working to determine the number of shots fired and where they originated.
Investigators reported retrieving three guns and a number of shell casings at the scene. They declined to specify the gun types or the number of casings found. BCI also is looking into communication and contact history between the couples.
As part of their investigation, the sheriff’s office also requested warrants for the house and the two vehicles involved — the Sanders’ and the Duncans’. Fischer said there may be security footage from the house that captured images of the shooting. A security camera mounted on the property fence, however, was not turned on, he said.
First Assistant Prosecutor Schmidt said that the prosecutor’s office would wait until the investigation was complete before determining whether there would be any charges filed.
She noted that Ohio’s stand-your-ground law, which allows for deadly force in self-defense in one’s home or car, could play a roll.
The Sheriff Department’s incident report of the shooting lists the altercation as “justifiable homicide,” but Schmidt cautioned against interpreting that description as definitive.
“That’s a legal term,” she said, and it does not discount the possibility of charges being filed later.