Skeleton found by dog identified as robbery suspect

Skeleton found by dog identified as robbery suspect

June 1st, 2017 by Staff Report in Breaking News

Skeletal remains found in Cleveland two months ago by a dog that brought home a skull have been identified as Joshua Arp.

Arp was the primary suspect in the robbery of the Central Pharmacy on the 1000 block of Peerless Road nearly a year ago, according to a Thursday Facebook post by the Cleveland Police Department.

Police responded to the store on June 30, 2016, and were told by employees that a white male had entered the store, handed the clerk a note and demanded morphine pills. He made gestures that suggested he had a weapon in his pocket, so the clerk gave him the pills.

The man fled the scene and a search was conducted in the area with K9s, but he wasn't found.

A photo of the suspect was released to the public and several members of Arp's family called to identify him. Employees who witnessed the robbery then also identified Arp in a photo lineup and a warrant was obtained for his arrest.

Nine months later, on the morning of March 29, his bones were unearthed near the 3100 block of Wesdell Lane by a dog that brought home "what appeared to be a skull," according to police. Investigators responded and found more bones in a wooded lot, as well as several in and around the dog's kennel.

"Due to the location of the bones, clothing and evidence located at the scene, it was suspected that the bones were that of the robbery suspect Joshua Arp," the Facebook post read.

The Times Free Press previously reported the dog's owner, who asked not to be identified, said Rex — a German short-haired pointer — had been bringing home what the family thought were animal bones for several weeks.

"He came into the garage with something big and white, holding it upside down," the owner said. "He sat it at my feet like he was proud of it."

The remains were sent to a Knoxville forensic center for an autopsy as were Arp's dental records which were obtained by Cleveland police from the Tennessee Department of Corrections.

An autopsy report confirmed the bones were Arp's and ruled the death as a suicide by morphine overdose. Police also confirmed on Facebook that Arp had a criminal history.

"Arp has been convicted of crimes that included accessory after the fact of 1st degree murder, abuse of a corpse and aggravated robbery," a post read.

Arp's wife did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday, but his Facebook page read, "A kind, loving man who loves Jesus first, then his wife and children. By: Joshua's wife."

Contact staff writer Emmett Gienapp at or 423-757-6731. Follow him on Twitter @emmettgienapp.