Date: 1994-11-29



Janice Haidet
November 29, 1994
Dayton Daily News

A family desperately wanting two of its children back for Christmas is getting its wish - but not without trade-offs.

A weeklong custody hearing regarding Isaiah and Samuel Carroll of Cedarville was to have begun Monday but was canceled when attorneys reached an agreement allowing the boys to spend time with their parents during Christmas and New Year's. The boys' parents - Kathleen and Timothy Carroll - also may gain full custody of the pair in February, which would end 18 months of separation. But the agreement also bans the Carrolls' 18-year-old son, James, from being around Isaiah and Samuel during visits. This was requested because Isaiah implicated James in one of four mysterious deaths in the Carroll family.

"Our goal is simply not to destroy the family, not to tear apart the family, but to protect the children," Greene County Prosecutor William F. Schenck said of the agreement his office entered into with the Carroll's attorneys. "We've had some legitimate differences on how that should be done, but I think this agreement adequately does that."

Over the years, the Carrolls repeatedly adopted children with physical, mental or emotionalproblems. Four of the couple's 10 children died of mysterious deaths between September 1992 and June 1993.

The deaths created a flurry of activity, which included a coroner's inquest, exhumations of two of the bodies and two homicide investigations, one of which is still active. The Carrolls pleaded guilty to neglect charges in the death of a 6-year-old. No one has been convicted of killing the children.

Monday's agreement gives both sides what they wanted.

Schenck, whose office is representing Greene County Children Services, gets continued therapy, public schooling and Children Services supervision for Isaiah, 12, and Samuel, 6 - things Kathleen and Timothy Carroll had resisted.

Schenck and Children Services also keep James away from Samuel and Isaiah. Isaiah implicated James in the death of Josiah, 12, last June. Charges have not been filed in that death, but the investigation into the case continues, Schenck said.

The agreement gives the Carrolls more time with Isaiah, who has cerebral palsy, and Samuel, who has Down syndrome. Only Hosea Carroll, 11, and James have lived with their parents since August 1993, when a judge removed Isaiah and Samuel and placed them in foster care. That action followed the string of suspicious deaths.

Isaiah and Samuel will begin staying overnight with their parents Friday. Visitation will increase and include an extended visit Dec. 21 to Jan. 2. Per the agreement, James will not be allowed around the children during this time.

"We got the greatest gift when Jesus came, and this Christmas is going to be real special because we get to celebrate that with our kids," said Kathleen Carroll, prompting applause and cheers from a group of 20 supporters from the family's church, Ascension Life Center of West Alexandria.


* Greene County Children Services Board withdrew a motion for permanent custody of Samuel, 6, and Isaiah, 11, but "with the understanding that it can be refiled with good cause."

* James Carroll "shall not be in the home or have any contact with Samuel and Isaiah Carroll. . . . The only exception is for church attendance," and then contact should be minimal.

* Samuel and Isaiah will have their first overnight stay with their parents Friday. Visitation will increase, especially over the holidays. The boys will stay with the Carrolls from Feb. 1 to Feb. 24, the day a judge will decide if the children will stay permanently with their parents.

* The children are not to be taken out of Greene County without children services' permission, except for attendance at the family's church in Preble County.

* Depositions of forensic experts, which were taken in anticipation of the custody hearing, were made part of the permanent court record in the case.

* Authorities with children services will be notified immediately if the children become ill, need a doctor or require medical treatment.

* The children are not to be left without adult supervision while in the care of the Carrolls, and "James Carroll shall not be a supervisor for these children under any circumstances."

* The agency must apply for additional federal financial assistance for Isaiah's medical care.


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