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Dr. Phil and DeWine

Register • Sep 29, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Producers of the “Dr. Phil” program swooped down last week to interview Mike Limberios and others, retracing Mike’s every step after he learned his son, Jacob, was dead.

“It was intense,” Mike said. “There were a lot of people here, and they talked fast and want answers fast, and they keep moving.”


"Dr. Phil" show producers on task and in overdrive during visit to Castalia Sept. 21. Get today's Sunday Register to read about the pace. Click here for the ePaper, for home delivery or buy the Register every day at a newsstand near you.

The show’s film crew arrived in Castalia on Sept. 21, working all day and into the next. By Tuesday the crew was back at Paramount Studios-Hollywood, where the program is based, for a taping of an upcoming show.

The program’s production and publicity teams have not revealed anything about the show’s planned content, but one producer sought and received permission to use Register articles and photos and other news coverage for the episode.

An air date for the Limberios segment of the “Dr. Phil” program has not been announced, but the show’s producers have suggested it could be delayed until November.

Investigators working for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine also have had little to say publicly.

Watch Mike Limberios on Between the Lines in the player below

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DeWine’s office took the case away from Sandusky County officials by court order in June. Assistant attorneys general Matt Donahue and Marianne Hemmeter did not respond to questions about the investigation. 

Lie detector tests administered by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, an arm of DeWine’s office, played a key part much earlier in the investigation, just weeks after 19-year-old Jacob Limberios was killed March 2, 2012, in a York Township home.

The BCI provides crime lab services to law enforcement agencies in the state. It was already involved in the local investigations before a judge removed Sandusky County officials, citing their conflicts of interest in the way their investigation was being conducted.

Ohio BCI appears to have a conflict of its own, with the polygraph examinations conducted by one of its employees. The agency was assisting Sandusky County prosecutor’s investigator Bill Kaiser in June 2012, and the results of the tests of two witnesses — Brittany Bowers and Will Lewis — showed both Bowers and Lewis were likely being truthful in their statements that Jake had shot himself.

On the “Dr. Phil” program taped Wednesday, however, Brittany and Will agreed to take lie detector tests again. 

“They took the tests,” Limberios family attorney Dan McGookey said.

McGookey said he’s confident the test results from the program will strongly challenge the BCI employee’s test results.

“The way BCI administered the tests didn’t follow basic standards,” McGookey said. “This has been reviewed by experts, and it’s troubling the BCI results aren’t reliable.”

McGookey provided an analysis sent to him by an association of polygraphists — experts in the field of lie detector methods — that states the testing methodology and protocols used by BCI did not align with modern standards, and the results were misinterpreted.

DeWine’s office declined to comment about the BCI tests or the challenge to the results.

Seeking help

The Register reported earlier this month that Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York medical examiner with celebrity status from past high-profile court testimony, is working with BCI now to re-construct information from witness statements and autopsy reports.

But mum’s the word, otherwise, for the Ohio AG team digging through the Limberios reports and interviewing witnesses in this latest probe.

Local officials had the investigation for 15 months. At the start of October, the Ohio AG team will have had it for four months.

The ongoing wait for answers continues to overwhelm their lives and can, at times, be unnerving, Mike Limberios said.

In one instance, Mike said he was disappointed — maybe overreacting — when a BCI agent told him an interview with one witness “went well,” and then followed by saying the witness was sticking to the same story.

“It sounded the same as what we heard from O’Connell and Henry, and everyone else from Sandusky County,” Mike Limberios said. “It startled me, for a moment, when I heard him say that.”

Sandusky County sheriff’s detective Sean O’Connell was the last lead detective in the last local investigation; Tiffin attorney Dean Henry served as Sandusky County special prosecutor in the criminal investigation and as defense counsel for the county against the Limberios family.

The AG team also declined to say how many witnesses have been interviewed, or if BCI agents contacted additional witnesses who came forward earlier this year.

Dr. Philip McGraw, a forensic psychologist whose program has been nationally syndicated since 2002, interviewed Mike and Shannon Limberios on Wednesday.

Brittany Bowers and Will Lewis, who were inside the home when Jacob was killed, also were guests on the program. They have consistently said Jake shot himself.

Dr. Cyril Wecht, another renowned forensic pathologist with luminary status, was also a guest. Wecht performed the first autopsy of Jacob’s body for the family in September 2012. He told the Register Jake was — beyond plausible doubt — a victim of homicide.

Local officials were asked by program producers to participate, but Sandusky County sheriff Kyle Overmyer said the ongoing AG’s investigation prohibited this. He and other Sandusky County officials used this same reasoning to avoid providing any information during the first 15 months of their investigations.

Evidence at the crime scene was destroyed after deputies and paramedics arrived at the home that night. The AG’s office has not said if they plan to determine who destroyed the evidence.

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