March 10, 2020 – The body of 28-year-old Brittany McDowell was found on July 4, 2019 at Alum Creek State Park. Today, John Bartholomew pled guilty to her murder and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. He also received 6 months to run concurrently for gross abuse of a corpse and an additional three years for a gun specification associated with the murder charge.


“Today’s sentence holds the defendant responsible for his crimes and punishes him for his horrendous actions that ripped Brittany from her family. Nothing can ever replace Brittany or make her loss any easier for those who loved and cherished her,” said Delaware County Prosecutor Melissa Schiffel. “No one should ever have to suffer losing a loved one in such a tragic and senseless way.”


Bartholomew, 24, was arrested on July 9, 2019, five days after an ODNR officer discovered McDowell’s body in shallow grave during a routine foot patrol. An autopsy determined McDowell, of Columbus, had suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the head.


During the course of the investigation, it was a tip from a concerned citizen that aided law enforcement in developing Bartholomew as a suspect. This person had been asked to clean Bartholomew’s vehicle, and when the citizen discovered blood in the car, he knew something wasn’t right, and made the decision to report what he’d seen.


“I applaud this citizen for doing the right thing, for following his gut and placing that call to law enforcement,” Schiffel said. “We all have a part to play in keeping our community safe, and without this tip, and the efforts of many law enforcement partners who followed up on this and other leads, today’s guilty plea may not have occurred.”


If you want to report a crime, or have a tip for law enforcement in Delaware County, you can call (740) 833-2800 or email

Bartholomew mug shot