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Dean Henry says family impeding criminal probe

Register • May 8, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Special Prosecutor Dean Henry told attorney Dan McGookey that Dr. Cynthia Beisser, deputy Lucas County coroner, wants to examine a tissue sample in Dr. Cyril Wecht’s possession. He also told McGookey he wanted audio recordings the family has that were "promised to" him.

"Your failure to produce these items is obstructing the criminal investigation you have so many times insisted upon," Henry wrote in an email to McGookey late Tuesday.

Videos, audios and other information the famly has has been posted at a Facebook page, JusticeForJake, which was started by friends and supporters of the family. Click here to link to the page. 

McGookey said it was Henry, and county officials who have stonewalled a credible investigation from the start on March 2, 2012, when Jacob was killed.

Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer finished that initial investigation in just a few hours, and county coroner John Wukie ruled Jake's death a suicide that might have been accidental. Wukie made the ruling after a telephone call with sheriff's deputies the same night Jacob was killed, and he never examined the body or the home where it happened. 

"All the family has ever wanted is the truth," McGookey said. 

Henry suggested the criminal investigation had just recently shifted into gear, but he also told McGookey he might be preparing to present evidence to a grand jury, and he might be finishing his investigation.

He wants "a chance to investigate this as (a) homicide," Dean wrote, referring to the finding of an independent pathologist who performed an autopsy in September when the family had Jake's body exhumed after Wukie refused to order an autopsy immediately after Jacob was killed and in the months that followed despite repeated requests from the family.

Henry ordered another exhumation and autopsy earlier this month. Beisser conducted the second autopsy May 2, and said Jake's body "likely" would be returned to the family Thursday, eight days after it was removed from the grave in Castalia Cemetery. The first exhumation, autopsy and the reburial in September all happened in one day.

"Now that a real investigation is occurring, you and your clients seem to be impeding it at every turn," Henry wrote. "If you are still truly searching for the truth, then share the evidence you have and give me a chance to investigate this as the homicide Dr. Wecht says it is."

CSI: Click here for a video detailing forensics.

Jacob died from a gunshot wound to the head. Three witnesses were in the home with him when he was killed but much of the physical and scientific evidence was destroyed during the course of county's investigation.

In addition to being the criminal prosecutor Henry also represents Wukie in a lawsuit filed by the family seeking to have the death certificate changed. Henry has relied on statements from the witnesses to oppose a change in the death certificate, declaring in a court filing earlier this month that Jacob shot himself. The motion does not suggest there is an ongoing criminal probe or a possible grand jury investigation. 

Henry's demand that the family surrender the remaining tissue sample that Wecht has retained is unreasonable, according to McGookey.

"For obvious reasons we have no desire to give him this last piece of evidence," McGookey said.

Henry and the Ohio Attorney General's Office both have declined to provide documentation regarding the status of the tissue sample Wecht previously provided to sheriff's deputy detective Sean O'Connell, or state whether it has been tested. 

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