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Detective felt pressure to step aside

Register • Jan 11, 2014 at 5:47 PM

A former Sandusky County sheriff's detective who briefly investigated the death of Jacob Limberios said he agreed to take the assignment only if he could conduct it without interference from Sandusky County sheriff Kyle Overmyer and chief deputy Bruce Hirt. 

But the interference he feared was swift and direct, according to documents released by the Ohio Attorney General's Office on Thursday. 

Retired detective Jim Consolo told Sandusky County coroner John Wukie "if I did this with him, that we left no stone unturned, that we turned every stone over we could possibly do, that we told the absolute truth of the matter, and that my hands weren't tied," according to a deposition filed in the case. 

"I just wanted to make sure that nobody put road blocks up for me," Consolo said. "Wherever the investigation led us is where it led us." 

Click here to read the deposition

But both Overmyer and Hirt weiged in almost immediately. 

"Dr. Wukie called me back and he said that I was right, that sheriff Overmyer was upset and did not want me to handle the case. He wanted detective Sean O'Connell to handle this case." 

Overmyer and O'Connell are friends, Consolo said. Overmyer had just recently hired O'Connell after O'Connell retired from the Fremont Police Department.  

Wukie still wanted Consolo, however, and wanted Consolo to assure him he could conduct an investigation that would not be critical of Overmyer or how the initial investigation was handled. Overmyer and his brother-in-law, sheriff's captain Michael Meggitt, conducted the initial investigation, during which some physical evidence from the home where Jake was killed was destroyed and other evidence was not collected.  

Consolo withdrew from the assignment just a few days later after an unusual meeting with Hirt. 

Click here to read about a previous investigation that landed Consolo in hot water

Hirt "asked about my family, and, ah, I haven't spoken to him in quite a while, to me it was kind of odd that he shows up right after this comes up, then, of course, he led into, have you talked to Dr. Wukie about the Limberios case and right then and there I knew this is going to be nothing but problems for me and I told Chief Hirt, don't worry about it, I'm withdrawing from the case." 

Overmyer assigned O'Connell, and deputy Zach Zender, Hirt's son-in-law who had just recently been promoted to a detective's position, to conduct the investigation. They never completed it, however, because a judge removed local officials from the probe in late May 2013 citing conflicts of interest in the way they were conducting it. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine was assigned to complete the probe and determined that Jake's death was an accident.

Wukie ruled Jake's death a suicide weeks after Jake was killed. He's since refused to change the death certificate to reflect DeWine's finding, contending a suicide ruling does not require knowing whether someone intended to kill themselves.  

Click here to hear Wukie explain his suicide ruling

Click here to read about the killing of Bryan Jones

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