Todd Rice

Todd Rice, seen here with his dog, Lucky, was found deceased inside his home on April 5, according to Mansfield police. (Facebook photo)

MANSFIELD -- Police are investigating the death of a 45-year-old Mansfield man found deceased in his home on April 5.

The body of Todd Rice was found by Mansfield police, who went to the home after being contacted by Rice's employer when he failed to show up for work that day.

Officers found his vehicle was not in the driveway and the door to his house was partially open, according to Mansfield police Capt. Shari Robertson.

“They decided to enter the house to check it to make sure he was OK," Robertson said. "Upon entering, they located him in the house deceased.

"Mr. Rice’s death investigation is still open and foul play has not been ruled out. We are still awaiting autopsy results, which will provide more insight into the case."

From 2017 to 2020, Rice was president of the Mansfield Gay Pride Association, which organizes an annual pride parade and festival.

He also worked for the Richland Outreach Center, which described him in a Facebook post as a "fun, inspiring man with a kind soul."

"He and his previous organization helped at many of our events and we are extremely blessed to have known, worked beside, and become friends with such a kind soul," the organization said in the Facebook post.

"One of Todd's goals for our organization was to hold a children's health fair for the community. In his honor, we are going to make that happen. Thank you, Todd, for every laugh and motivational talk, and for blessing our organization with your intelligence and experience. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Todd's family during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing such an amazing person with us," the organization posted.

According to a published obituary, Rice grew up in Montrose, Michigan, and graduated from Birch Run High School with the class of 1993.

He attended Ohio State University and worked for Huntington Bank as an IT technician with seven years of service.

The obituary said Rice enjoyed tubing on the river, gardening, decorating, and cooking. He also liked studying American history, Civil War history, and doing family ancestry.

"However, his greatest joy in life was his family, especially nieces and nephews," the obituary said.

Robertson said police believe there may have been people inside the home at the time Rice died and/or shortly afterwards.

"We are working to locate all those individuals and determine what they may know about this case and their exact involvement with Mr. Rice," Robertson said.

The captain said it appears there were personal items belonging to Rice taken from the home at some point after his death.

Robertson said those items included his pet cocker spaniel, Lucky;  his 2016 Jeep Renegade; and various electronic and video equipment.

Rice’s missing Jeep was located abandoned on April 7 in a field on Bowman Street near Poth Road. The dog was located Monday and is safe, Robertson said.

"A person who had heard that Lucky was missing and had knowledge of his location, reached out as an intermediate contact and arranged to meet up with detectives to turn Lucky over so he could be reunited with Mr. Rice’s family," Robertson said.

The captain said the person who had Lucky asked to remain anonymous.

"At this time, we do not have any reason to believe the person who had possession of Lucky had anything to do with him being taken from the home," Robertson said.

"However, we would like to speak to that person to find out exactly how they ended up with Lucky and the circumstances of how they had come into possession of him."

Robertson asked that anyone with additional information about the case to contact Det. Richard Clapp at 419-755-9470.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"