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DeWine promises 'thorough' probe

Register • Jun 4, 2013 at 6:30 AM

The Limberios family met with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine Monday, less than a week after a judge appointed him to head up a criminal investigation of Jacob Limberios’ death on March 2, 2012. 

“We’re very pleased and hopeful,” Limberios family attorney Dan McGookey said. “He had top-level staff managers with him, and he assured the family that his office would conduct a full investigation.”

Mike Limberios, Jacob’s father, and Mike Limberios Jr., his brother, and McGookey met with DeWine in the morning. The meeting was arranged on Saturday and took place in Columbus. 

“He juggled his schedule to meet with us,” McGookey said. “We’re feeling confident that we’re making progress now.”

DeWine said a senior prosecutor and senior investigators would begin reviewing the information. 

“It’s going to be a thorough investigation,” he said. “Once the review is done they’ll start interviewing people and do what needs to be done in any investigation.” 

DeWine was asked to take over the criminal case last week. A visiting judge, appointed after Sandusky County Judge John Dewey stepped aside rather than respond to an ethics complaint about his involvement, fired special prosecutor Dean Henry last week, citing Henry’s conflict in serving as both defense attorney for the county and criminal prosecutor. 

Judge Dale Crawford ordered Henry to turn over his case file, which Henry said consisted of more than 2,000 pages. 

The Limberios family tried for months to convince DeWine to take over the criminal investigation, contending Henry and Sandusky County officials continued to conduct a substandard and improper investigation.

The family and supporters started a petition drive in an effort to convince DeWine to take over the investigation, but he said he could not do that without an invitation from local law enforcement. 

Crawford provided that invitation when he fired Henry.   

“We have provided them all of the considerable information we have, and we will continue to provide the AG’s office with any additional information we get,” McGookey said.  

Just hours after Jacob died, Sandusky County coroner John Wukie ruled his death a suicide that might have been accidental. Wukie never examined the body or visited the home where Jacob was killed. He refused to order an autopsy, and Sandusky County sheriff’s deputies allowed physical evidence to be destroyed and did not collect evidence before recommending the accidental suicide ruling to Wukie. 

A private autopsy done for the family determined Jacob was the victim of a homicide. Wukie, through Dean Henry, finally did order an autopsy in late April.

That examination by the Lucas County coroner’s office included findings that “were not inconsistent” with Wukie’s original suicide ruling, although there is no evidence Jacob committed suicide. 

“There will be a resolution of this,” DeWine said. “When the investigation is done we’re going to make it public, and it’s going to be transparent.” 

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