Child victims focus of recent court cases in the region, continuing troubling series of incidents


Recently the Miami Valley and Ohio have experienced a number of incidents that either involved children as victims or trials related to children involved in violent deaths. 

Here’s a look at what you should know:

Feb. 1: Dead woman, child found inside makeshift home in Dayton

A dead woman and a child were found inside what police described as a “deplorable” home on Forest Glen Avenue, according to an incident report. Food and water were scarce inside the makeshift home, according to police. The area was heated using multiple electric heaters. 

Feb. 14: Boyfriend charged with murder in 2-year-old’s death

A Dayton man faces murder charges following the death of 2-year-old Brayden Ferguson, the boy whose mother said was watching the animated movie “Finding Dory” before his brain-dead body turned blue from severe trauma.

Feb. 15: Baby found in trash can, Trotwood police investigating

Murder and gross abuse of a corpse are listed as possible charges on a Feb. 4 police report filed after authorities found a dead infant outside a South Broadway Avenue residence. 

Feb. 23: Flu-related illness kills fifth Ohio child

Five children between the ages of 6 and 9 have died in Ohio from flu-related illnesses. All the child deaths, which are the only flu-related deaths reported to the health department, occurred this month.

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Feb. 27: Child shot in Dayton may be retaliation for fatal Trotwood shooting

A 9-year-old boy was struck after gunfire hit a house in the 1100 block of Dennison Avenue. Police believe that the shooting is likely connected to a deadly shooting at Trotwood apartments on Autumn Woods Drive earlier in the day. 

Feb. 28: Fairfield police investigating death of 1-month-old infant

The 1-month-old boy was found not breathing in an apartment in the 1500 block of Gelhot Drive at 4:34 a.m., Fairfield Police Officer Doug Day said. The infant was transported to Mercy Hospital-Fairfield, where he was pronounced dead, according to police.

March 1: No charges in death of 3-year-old Middletown boy in ‘freak accident’

A 3-year-old, Nicholas Minor, died Wednesday at Dayton Children's Hospital after being involved in what is being called a “freak accident” by relatives. His grandfather was attempted to start a car he had agreed to buy when the car jumped a brick that was holding it in place and ran over Minor.

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March 8: Toddler’s injuries like a ‘high-velocity’ car crash, doctor testifies 

Jessie York, 32, is on trial for murder, child endangerment and felonious assault against a Germantown toddler who died Nov. 15, 2013 after being declared brain dead two days earlier.

Rylee Sellars suffered injuries not unlike what would occur after falling out of a second- or third-story window or being in a high-velocity car crash, said Dr. Laurence Kleiner, attending neurosurgeon at Dayton’s Children’s Hospital. 

March 9:  Mother tells baby hurt in shootout she loves him as he dies 

Shawn Smith, 26, is on trial for murder, felonious assault and other charges related to the death of 13-month-old Elijah Johnson after a shootout in a Dayton neighborhood on Jan. 14, 2016. The shootout involved the toddler’s mother’s boyfriend, Isaiah Smith, Shawn Smith and Dontay King.

Isiah Smith walked out of a home carrying Elijah while apparently exchanging fire with Shawn Smith. One witness says the boy was used as a human shield. Elijah suffered a gunshot wound to his foot and chest and died from blood loss, a deputy coroner testified.  

MORE INFO: Dayton man accused in 1-year-old’s death: I ‘cried a million nights’ 

March 11:  Father out of hospital after courtroom illness causes mistrial 

Robert Richie, 31, is charged with felony child endangerment and involuntary manslaughter for allegedly not checking on his son for 15 hours after learning the child had been severely burned by his wife. 

On March 16, 2016, Austin Cooper, 4, was held in a bathtub of scalding water by his step-mother until he was burned on about 28 percent of his body. The boy later died of shock and his father found him the following morning.


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