Date: 1993-06-22


June 22, 1993
Janice Haidet
Dayton Daily News

A rare coroner's inquest is planned in an attempt to answer questions about the deaths of three children in the same Cedarville family.

Prompted by the unexplained death of Josiah Carroll, 12, on June 14, the June 30 inquest also seeks information on the deaths of Noah and Mollie Carroll, both age 3 when they died. "Anytime you have a lot of deaths in the same family, you will want to find out everything you can - regardless of any underlying diseases," Greene County Coroner Manoj Desai said. "This will be an opportunity to interview everyone personally, one-to-one."

The Carroll family, 3315 Straley Road, has seen five of its 10 adopted children die within the past nine months.

All the dead children suffered from physical or mental handicaps. Four of the children died in the home; an infant died after she was returned to foster care.

The family's reluctance to talk directly to investigators prompted the first formal coroner's inquest in Greene County in about 10 years.

Desai said he and County Prosecutor William F. Schenck agreed an inquest was necessary because members of the Carroll family, apparently acting on advice from attorney John H. Rion of Dayton, have declined to speak directly with investigators.

"We're trying to investigate a death, and it isn't happening," said Coroner's Chief Investigator William McCarthy.

The closest thing to an interview with the Carrolls so far has been a telephone conference in which McCarthy and Schenck relayed questions to Rion, who then relayed answers from James Carroll, 17, and the Carrolls' father, Timothy Carroll, after Josiah's death, McCarthy said.

Under Ohio law, a coroner may subpoena witnesses to appear for an inquest; anyone failing to show up may be prosecuted for contempt of court. It has not been determined whether the proceedings will be open to the public.

The inquest "is not accusatory," McCarthy said.

"It's just another tool we have to hopefully help us get at some answers," he said.

Concerns about the Carroll family were first raised after 6-year-old Hannah died in September as a result of burning her lungs and more than half her skin with household bleach.

After Hannah's death, Timothy Carroll and his wife, Kathleen Carroll, pleaded guilty to reduced charges of contributing to the neglect of a child; the Carrolls are now subject to unannounced visits from caseworkers from Greene County Children Services.

Desai's predecessor, former Greene County Coroner Alan Palmer, ruled that the November death of Noah, a 3-year-old crack baby, resulted from natural causes. Mollie, 3, who was born with a genetic disorder, died in December of undetermined causes.

"That means there was no anatomical cause for her to die," McCarthy said.

So far, that's also the case with the death of Josiah, McCarthy said. Josiah suffered from asthma and cerebral palsy, a type of brain damage causing motor impairment and paralysis.


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