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Dean plans dig

Emil Whitis • Apr 30, 2013 at 6:49 AM

Sandusky County special prosecutor Dean Henry gave notice Monday: He plans to have Jacob Limberios's body exhumed Wednesday. 

"Based on the concurrence of everyone listed above, the disinterment will begin at 7 a.m.," Henry wrote in the notice he sent to an area funeral home and public officials. 

"It is my understanding that James Neill, cemetery sexton, will prepare the gravesite, Turner Vault will open the vault and Ransom Funeral Home will remove the (body) and transport him to the Lucas County Coroner's office," Dean wrote.

The Limberioses do not concur, Mike Limberios, Jacob's father said, nor have they been given an opportunity to concur.

"They're wearing me down," Mike said late Monday, after learning from a friend about Henry's decision to dig up his son. "I still have fight in me, but they're wearing me down."

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Henry has refused to keep the family informed about the status of his investigation. He did not inform them directly of his decision to schedule the exhumation. 

Henry has declined to address questions Mike and Shannon Limberios, Jacob's mother, have been asking for months, including why a second autopsy is necessary since county officials have a tissue sample from the previous autopsy.

"Detective (Sandusky County sheriff's deputy Sean) O'Connell told me, twice, that he 'knows what happened.' He said he knows exactly how Jacob died," Mike Limberios said. "So I don't understand what they want to show by digging up my son again. Just tell us why it's necessary. That's all we're asking. Tell us what you know."

Henry has refused to respond to inquiries about his reasoning for withholding information from the Limberios family. He's provided limited information about the investigation to the Fremont News-Messenger, but he's refused to provide responses that address the questions the family has raised, Mike Limberios said.

Henry hasn't changed that position.

"I don't have to explain anything," Henry told the Register when reached by phone on Monday. "We're going forward."  

Wukie sent a letter to Erie County officials, indicating forensic pathologist Cynthia Beisser, of the Lucas County coroner's office, needs to exhume Jacob's body to make an official ruling on the cause of death. Dr. Cyril Wecht  called his death a homicide and said the tissue sample he provided county officials is "incontrovertible evidence" of that.

Limberios family attorney Dan McGookey contends Henry and Wukie do not have authority to order an exhumation in Erie County. They must get that go-ahead from Erie County coroner Brian Baxter and Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter since Jacob is buried in Castalia Cemetery in Margaretta Township.

Henry disagrees. 

"Kevin Baxter didn't need to OK the exhumation," Henry said. "It's not his exhumation to OK." 

Kevin Baxter said previously that Sandusky County officials had to show a need for a second exhumation and autopsy. 

Erie County coroner Brian Baxter said he plans to call Beisser today to confirm information about a need for a second autopsy. 

Jacob was shot and killed March 2, 2012. Sandusky County officials ruled the death a suicide. He never examioned the body or went to the location where Jacob was killed. 

Wecht, a forensic pathologist hired by the Limberios family who conducted an autopsy in the fall, provided the tissue sample to county officials in February. Dean has refused to say whether the sample has been tested.

Mike Limberios said it's been extremely difficult these past 14 months and he's been dumbfounded and disappointed by Sandusky County officials. 

"Dr. Wukie said this would be an open and transparent investigation," he said. "My family has been open and transparent. We're not hiding anything."

"I feel sorry for the people of Sandusky County," he said. "How can they ever go before this court system and think they're going to be treated fairly?"

The Register will provide continuing coverage at sanduskyregister.com, including reaction from Castalia Cemetery on Wednesday. 

Sandusky County judges Barbara Ansted and John Dewey have not responded to inquiries about conflicts in the investigation. Wukie has not commented in the 14 months since his ruling.

Other Sandusky County officials — sheriff Kyle Overmyer, prosecutor Thomas Stierwalt and court administrator Brock Kimmet — also have refused to directly comment on concerns raised by the family, including the failure to order an autopsy initially, the destruction of evidence and the failure to retrieve evidence, and what they say are inconsistencies in the witness statements and inconsistencies in the investigation, overall. 

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