Date: 1993-10-15



October 15, 1993
Janice Haidet
Dayton Daily News
An appeals court in Middletown has granted a delay in the exhumations of two dead Carroll children.

Greene County authorities want to disinter the bodies to look for clues into their deaths. Administrative Judge Richard Koehler of the 12th District Court of Appeals on Thursday granted the request of the Carroll family's lawyers, John H. Rion of Dayton and Dennis E. Gump of Trotwood, and agreed to at least temporarily block the disinterment of Mollie Carroll, 3, and Josiah Carroll, 12, from their graves in Preble County.

Under Koehler's order, officials cannot attempt exhumation until Oct. 25; Greene County Prosecutor William F. Schenck has been directed to respond in writing to Gump's and Rion's written arguments by Oct. 22.

"Our rules provide that there will be no hearing, unless the judges decide otherwise," Court Administrator Bennett Manning said. "They may decide only after reading the written memoranda."

Schenck on Sept. 29 informed the family that he intended to exhume the bodies so experts could do more detailed, specialized testing.

Prosecutors have authority to order exhumations under Ohio law, but Schenck had to get the order from Preble County Prosecutor Rebecca Ferguson, because she has jurisdiction over the area in which the children are buried.

Rion and Gump immediately obtained a restraining order from Preble County Common Pleas Judge David Abruzzo. After hearing arguments from both sides last Friday, Abruzzo on Tuesday lifted his restraining order and then refused to grant a stay of execution of that order, prompting Rion and Gump to turn to the appeals court in Middletown, which has jurisdiction over Preble County cases.

The two children are among 10 handicapped children adopted by Kathleen and Timothy Carroll of Cedarville - four of whom died under suspicious circumstances within nine months. The oldest adopted child still living in the home, James, 17, has been charged in one of the deaths and could face charges in the death of Josiah, officials have said.

He remains on house arrest awaiting a Nov. 1 trial.

Experts have said they believe Josiah and Mollie could have been smothered, but they want to look for more specific clues.

James is charged in the bleach-burning death of Hannah, 6, who died Sept. 21, 1992, three days after chemical burns on 35 percent of her body were left unattended. Mr. and Mrs. Carroll in January each pleaded guilty to two counts of child neglect in connection with that death.


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