JUDGE LETS CARROLLS KEEP CHILDREN
JUDGE LETS CARROLLS KEEP CHILDREN
SON CHARGED IN DEATH FREE
August 7, 1993
Janice Haidetand and Tom Beyerlein
Dayton Daily News
A judge allowed the teen-ager charged in the bleach-burning death of his adoptive sister, Hannah Carroll, to remain free on Friday, and also refused to remove three other adopted children from their parents' custody.
Those were the rulings Timothy and Kathleen Carroll and their supporters had hoped for. "Hallelujah! Bless the Lord!" said the Carrolls' pastor, the Rev. Wesley Brubaker of Ascension Life Center of West Alexandria.
Their victory, however, may only be temporary. The children will remain in the Carroll home at least until Friday, when Judge Richard T. Cole of Greene County Juvenile Court will consider another request to remove them to foster care.
"We're incredibly thankful to God for His provision," Mrs. Carroll said after Cole refused to grant the Greene County Children Services Board's request for emergency custody. "He knows where our children need to be and He made a way for that."
Mrs. Carroll also said involuntary manslaughter charges in juvenile court against her eldest adopted son, James, 17, "are totally unfounded and wrong, and he will be exonerated."
Greene County Prosecutor William Schenck said, "My concern for the remaining children is they will turn up deceased with an undetermined cause of death, because we've had that occur several times before."
James Carroll is accused of delinquency by reason of involuntary manslaughter in the Sept. 21 death of Hannah, 6, a Down syndrome child who died three days after being burned over 27 percent of her body with bleach. James, who was baby-sitting for Hannah when the burning occurred, said she spilled the bleach on herself, but a burns expert testified last week at a coroner's inquest that it couldn't have happened that way.
Since Hannah's death, three more handicapped children adopted by the Carrolls - Noah, 3; Mollie, 3; and Josiah, 12 - died under unexplained circumstances.
Greene County Coroner Manoj Desai said Friday he may amend the death certificates after he reviews the 928-page transcript of the four-day inquest, which concluded Thursday.
Children Services caseworkers make regular, unannounced visits to the home under a court order that followed Hannah's death.
At a Friday morning custody hearing, Greene County prosecutors argued that Cole should grant authorities emergency temporary custody because the court order doesn't ensure the safety of the children who remain in the Carroll home: Isaiah, 11; Hosea, 10; and Samuel, 5.
Assistant prosecutor Suzanne Schmidt said Mrs. Carroll has "intimidated" the children, discouraging them from talking to caseworkers.
"Her attitude toward the agency has been one of complete distrust," Schmidt said.
It's difficult for authorities to monitor the family's situation, Schmidt said, because the family has little contact with the outside community. The children get their schooling at home from their parents, who also have refused help from agencies for the handicapped.
But attorney Dennis Gump, who is representing Timothy Carroll, told Cole the children "belong in the Carroll home. It would be a travesty to take them out of the only home they've known."
Cole barred reporters from a hearing on the involuntary manslaughter charges against James, over the objections of attorneys representing the Dayton Daily News. Authorities had sought an arrest warrant, which Cole apparently denied.
After the brief hearing, a smiling James Carroll emerged with family and friends, and Mrs. Carroll said, "If I could sing, I would."
Then the family returned to their home at 3315 Straley Road, in rural Greene County. A group of friends from the Carrolls' church took the day off work to show their support for a family they said has been inspirational in their efforts to raise the 10 handicapped or troubled children they adopted.
Doug Selby, an electrical contractor from West Alexandria, said he has known the Carrolls since 1992 and "we've never seen anything ever that would cause any suspicion. In fact, it's the other way around. I've been amazed (at) the ability of this family to care for these children."
"We're morally obligated to be here because we're firmly convinced of their innocence," said the Rev. Brubaker's wife, Carolyn. "We'll just take one step at a time. I'm anxious for the truth to come out, because we have nothing to fear from the truth."