I love urban legends and I find that while most are seemingly far fetched stories, a few of them are rooted in grains of truth. I think that may be the case with one local bit of lore here in the Cincinnati area. Amy and The Legend of Lick Road.
Let’s start with the legend: the story goes that a girl named Amy met her unfortunate and premature demise on a desolate road north of Cincinnati. There are several versions – one claims that Amy and her boyfriend decided to park at the end of Lick Road, a popular make-out spot, and when she denied his advances he raped and killed her inside the car and dumped her body in the woods that back up to Lick Road. Another version, and my personal favorite, says that Amy met her untimely death at the hands of an evil stepfather who chased her into the woods and killed her there, throwing her body off Crybaby Bridge. A third story attributes her death to a mystery man who allegedly murdered her in another area and later dumped her body at the end of, you guessd it, Lick Road.
Legend has it that if you drive out to Lick Road Amy’s ghostly presence announces herself in multiple ways. Some say you hear her screams at Crybaby Bridge, others say Amy reveals herself by tracing the words “Help Me’ on steamed up car windows.
Over the years the stories about this place caught my attention, especially since Amy and I share a first name. After doing a little reading on the subject and mapping out the location, I decided to cruise out there and check it out for myself. First impressions on driving down Lick Road? It’s way shorter and more rural than I had imagined, at least this portion. As you turn off Kemper onto Lick, the road narrows after a few hundred yards allowing one to anticipate the upcoming dead end. An area of thick woods ahead suggests this as well. Just before the dead end you see a house on the right, some rolling hills and a large fenced area with several horses. An idyllic pastoral scene that is quickly erased by grafitti covered guard rails, a dingy mattress and various other junk that sits in a small clearing just before a locked gate. Beyond the gate there is the large wooded area which is known as Richardson Forest Preserve. This vast tract of land is situated at the border of Hamilton and Butler Counties and is maintained by the Hamilton County Park District. Proceeding past the locked gate, as one does, a short walk reveals the aforementioned Crybaby Bridge which still stands over a babbling creek. I snapped some pics, got the general vibe of the place and headed back to my car, which incidently, did not have ‘Help Me’ traced on the windows, dammit. Much ado about nothing – or so I thought – until I dug deeper and found out there was indeed a real murder mystery very nearby with some startling similarities. I had to ask myself, could that murder have been the impetus for the Amy story?
You see back in 1976 the nude body of 15-year-old Linda Dyer was found just one mile away from that dead end I explored on Lick Road. But this was no urban legend. The teenage girl who went missing the previous day was discovered under a bridge at the corner of Crest and Banks Roads, she had been stabbed and strangled. Due to a lack of blood at the scene it appeared the crime was committed somewhere else and the
location was chosen merely as a place to dump her body. This area is also wooded, rural and features a small bridge over a stream. Sound familiar? Linda Dyer’s murder was part of a string of homicides that occured in and around Cincinnati over a relatively brief time period in the mid-70’s. All of the victims were young women, many of whom actually knew one another or ran in the same circles. These are an extremely interesting series of local cases, many still unsolved, that have all the hallmarks of a serial killer. I am currently working on a story with all the details and will share in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
As for Lick Road, I can see why this spot has been a popular setting for this urban legend. It certainly has all the elements required to lend itself to a terrifying tale. Back in September of 2018 county engineers who were working at the dead end on Lick Road found what they believed was a woman’s body partially concealed in a garbage bag. They immediately called the police who surmised, upon closer inspection, it was just a life sized sex doll. See, told ya it was creepy.
Lick Road, The Legend of Amy, and The Linda Dyer Connection creepycincinnati.com
McKelvey, Vince. 3 States Probe Deaths of 16 Cincy Area Girls. The Journal Herald. Friday, 04 Mar 1977.Dayton, Ohio.