DEATH CASE TWISTS

Date: 1993-09-09
Source: newsbank.com

DEATH CASE TWISTS

CARROLL CHILD SMOTHERED?

September 9, 1993
Janice Haidet
Dayton Daily News
       
A specialist is "unequivocally" asserting that 12-year-old Josiah Carroll was smothered to death, and an additional charge is being considered against his 17-year-old adopted brother, James.

As a result, authorities are seeking emergency removal of one other child remaining in the Carrolls' Cedarville home. In documents filed Wednesday in Greene County Juvenile Court, Dr. Michael Gregory Balko, a former medical examiner who specializes in children's brain and nervous system disorders, "stated unequivocally that it was his opinion . . . that the cause of death for Josiah Carroll was smothering."

Greene County officials contacted Balko as part of the investigation into Josiah's death. Coroner Manoj Desai has yet to make a final ruling on how the child died.

In the documents, County Assistant Prosecutor Suzanne Schmidt asks Visiting Judge Richard T. Cole to remove Hosea Carroll, 10, from the home and to delay James' trial on a delinquency charge of involuntary manslaughter involving the bleach-burning death of 6-year-old Hannah Carroll.

That trial has been set for Sept. 20 - a day short of the one-year anniversary of Hannah's death. Hers was the first of five deaths among the 10 adopted children of Timothy and Kathleen Carroll.

One of the deaths, that of infant Chloe, isn't considered suspicious because she died while in the care of a Columbus adoption agency, not in the home.

John H. Rion of Dayton, a lawyer for the family, said he is asking Cole to conduct a hearing on Schmidt's motions on Friday. Schmidt said the judge can make a decision based solely on the affidavits and other court documents if he chooses.

Two other children - Samuel, 5, and Isaiah, 11 - were placed in foster care after James was charged and placed on house arrest last month.

Hosea remains in the home with James, and Rion said he doesn't expect that situation to change.

"We don't think the prosecutors will be able to substantiate their opinions," Rion said. "Their opinions are from people who are remote both in time and place from the investigation."

Balko, a clinical instructor for the Department of Pathology at the University of Cincinnati's School of Medicine and former Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, said he has performed autopsies "on a number of victims who have died from suffocation."

After reviewing numerous reports, Balko concluded that Josiah was smothered, but said he wanted to see some of Josiah's organs or at least tissue samples "before issuing what he calls a final report," Schmidt said.

Pending Balko's final report, "There is a likelihood that there would be an additional charge against James," Schmidt said.

Balko's statements are the strongest anyone has made publicly regarding Josiah's June 14 death. At a July coroner's inquest that probed four suspicious Carroll deaths, experts said there was "very suggestive" evidence of smothering in Josiah's death and that they "couldn't rule out" smothering as a possible cause of death for two 3-year-olds, Noah and Mollie, who died last November and December.

Inquest testimony also revealed the position in which Josiah was found dead - on his stomach - was improbable for him because his legs were permanently drawn up toward his chest.

He was born with brain damage that prevented him from speaking, walking or feeding himself.

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