Two Ohio Real Estate Agents Slain on the Job

A real estate agent, presumed murdered, was found dead inside a vacant home near Kent, Ohio, early Tuesday. His death follows that of another agent in Ohio, also believed murdered.

The wife of Cutler Realty agent Andrew VonStein, 51, notified the sheriff shortly before 4 a.m. that her husband was missing. She also called the car's OnStar service, which in turn called the car, but did not get a response, according to news reports. Tracking the vehicle through the OnStar GPS system, deputies found the car in the driveway of the vacant home.

In Youngstown, where the owner of Essence Realty was discovered on the kitchen floor in a burning home on Monday, police are treating the death of 67-year-old Vivian Martin as a homicide. She had gone there to meet a client. It was originally thought that the home burned due to a gas explosion, but WFMJ-TV reported that the gas to the vacant home was shut off and thus not the cause.

In a possibly similar case in Corona, Calif., a man was convicted Tuesday of the rape and attempted murder of a real estate agent that he'd lured into a foreclosed home. Jurors deliberated less than two hours before finding 36-year-old Shawn David Yates guilty of seven felonies, including kidnapping, rape and robbery, in the March 2008 attack on an Orange County real estate agent.

While one can never blame the victims for these kind of crimes, there are precautions that agents can take to lessen the risk of exposure to robbery and violent attack, and that also goes for FSBO sellers and homebuyers.