AUTHORITIES TO EXHUME CHILDREN
AUTHORITIES TO EXHUME CHILDREN
October 13, 1993
Dayton Daily News
A judge Tuesday ruled that Greene County authorities may exhume the remains of two Carroll children who died under mysterious circumstances. Preble County Common Pleas Judge David Abruzzo lifted a restraining order and allowed disinterment of Josiah Carroll, 12, and Mollie Carroll, 3.
"The circumstances are such that the need to examine the remains in an effort to arrive at the truth outweighs the sanctity of the grave," Abruzzo ruled. "The scales tip toward the side of vindicating the victims and perhaps towards saving other members of the family from a similar fate if the deaths were homicides, and if the perpetrator of same is a member of, or close to, the Carroll family."
John H. Rion - lawyer for Kathleen Carroll, mother of 10 adopted "special needs" children, four of whom died under suspicious circumstances - said he is asking the 12th District Court of Appeals in Middletown to overturn Abruzzo's decision.
Greene County Prosecutor William F. Schenck called the appeal attempt frivolous. The law is "clearly in our favor," he said, noting that Ohio law gives prosecutors and coroners absolute right to disinter bodies for further examination.
Abruzzo's court got involved because Schenck chose to notify the family, which lives in Cedarville in Greene County, before exhuming the bodies from their graves in Preble County. Claiming the action would harm the family, Rion got Abruzzo to issue a restraining order and conduct a hearing.
Schenck said he believes Rion is trying to delay the exhumations so any evidence obtained from the bodies can't be presented at the trial of 17-year-old James Carroll, whom Rion also represents. The trial is set for Nov. 1 in Greene County Juvenile Court.
James is accused in the death of Hannah Carroll, 6, who died Sept. 21, 1992, three days after bleach burns on 35 percent of her body were left unattended. James was baby-sitting at the time; his parents, Kathleen and Timothy, in January pleaded guilty to charges of child neglect for failing to get medical help for the girl.
James also could face charges as a result of Josiah's June 14 death, but charges involving Mollie's Dec. 9 death are "pure speculation at this point," Schenck said. The death of Noah, 3, in November, is considered less suspicious because Noah, a crack baby, had seizures before dying.
The deaths of Josiah, Mollie and Noah are considered suspicious, however, because their bodies were cold when paramedics arrived - and because James reported finding each body.
If the appeals court does consider the case, by the time the court gets to hear it, the exhumations could be done already, rending the case moot, Rion said.
Schenck said he wants to dig up the bodies as soon as possible, but it could take up to two weeks to arrange for at least three out-of-state experts to conduct further tests on the bodies.
The experts want to use special lighting and photography and perform specialized tests that could yield help determine whether the children were smothered. The causes of their deaths remain undetermined.
The Carrolls could not be reached for comment.