Passer-by tried to save boy; suspect said child fell

(Updated with full story) A 3-year-old boy is dead and his mother's boyfriend is behind bars on a murder charge.
Emil Whitis
Aug 1, 2012

(Updated with full story) A 3-year-old boy is dead and his mother’s boyfriend is behind bars on a murder charge. 

When Owen Barker’s mother went to work at about 6 p.m. Monday, she left the toddler in the care of her boyfriend, Michael Milner, 24, at their Fulton Street apartment, Sandusky police said.    

Less than two hours later, Owen was dead.   

Milner is also charged with felonious assault and child endangering. He was the only person in the apartment when the toddler sustained fatal blows to the torso, Sandusky police Lt. John Orzech said.

Milner called 911 at about 7:30 p.m.  

“A baby fell and hit his head and he’s not moving,” Milner is heard telling a dispatcher in the recorded 911 call. “He was playing and he tripped on a freaking truck.”

“He’s not breathing.”  

Glenn Fredericks, 30, said he had just stopped by his friend’s Fulton Street home at about 7:30 p.m. when he saw a man running back and forth in a driveway in the 500 block of Fulton St., carrying a boy’s limp body in his arms.

Fredericks is listed as a witness in the police report on Owen’s death.

“I saw him run past with a limp child in his arms like he was going to the hospital, then for some reason he changed his mind and ran back,” Fredericks told the Register. “The kid was purple and had a big lump on his head. (Milner) said he thought the baby was dead.” 

Milner ran back inside the apartment and placed Owen’s lifeless body on the couch, then started to fumble with a cell phone, said Fredericks, who had followed Milner into the apartment. 

“He asked me what he should do,” Fredericks said. “I told him to call 911.” (CALL POSTED ABOVE)

With help still minutes away, and not knowing what else to do, Fredericks said he tried to resuscitate the child.

“I had to do something,” he said. “At first it sounded like gargling, then he took a couple breaths, so I did it again and there were a couple more breaths. And that was it.”

At that point, paramedics showed up and took over.

“I got that image of the kid just laying there burned in my head,” Fredericks said. “It’s kind of driving me nuts.”

Fredericks said he couldn’t sleep Monday night.

“I did what I could, I did what I could,” Fredericks said. “If it were my kid, I would have called 911 right away. I don’t understand.”

Paramedics rushed Owen to Firelands Regional Medical Center, where the toddler died just minutes after arrival.

Later, in an interview room at the police station, Milner stuck to the same story he told dispatchers: Owen tripped and hit his head on a toy truck, Orzech said.

Milner is not Owen’s father.

The child’s body was sent to the Lucas County coroner for an autopsy, the preliminary results of which came in Tuesday morning.

“Internal injuries caused the child’s death,” Orzech said. “It was not at all consistent with (Milner’s) story.”

Owen also sustained visible injuries to the head, neck and back, police stated in a release.

Detectives also found patches of suspected blood stains throughout the apartment, not just in the spot Milner said the toddler had fallen.

“There was suspected blood found in different rooms inside the apartment, on different items inside the apartment,” Orzech said.

Police arrested Milner shortly after the interview. He was booked into the Erie County jail at about 12:20 a.m. Tuesday, according to jail records.   

A couple living near the Fulton Street apartment, asking not to be named, said Milner had previously told them he was the target of an investigation by children’s services workers in summer 2011.

Milner told the couple he had bruised Owen’s buttocks after spanking him when he caught the toddler wandering out onto a roof.

Orzech confirmed there was an investigation into that incident, and he also confirmed investigators found bruises on the boy’s buttocks.

Orzech said he doesn’t know what came of that inquiry, and he deferred to children’s services investigator AJ Lill, who did not return a reporter’s phone message Tuesday afternoon.

The couple said there was another incident about two months ago that also made them question the toddler’s safety.

In that incident, sometime in May, Milner and the couple got into a brief confrontation.     

The man said he told Milner to grow up, and pointed out that he had a child to take care of. According to the man, Milner responded: “That’s not my kid.”

Orzech, meanwhile, pleaded with the community to alert police to any incidents involving suspected child abuse. 

“We’ve got a young innocent life here that couldn’t protect itself,” Orzech said. “If people suspect or hear of any child abuse ... pick up the phone and call. We don’t mind checking.”

Residents can remain anonymous when calling Sandusky police at 419-627-5863 or Erie County Children Services at 419-626-6781. 

Milner is being held in the Erie County jail without bond.

Sandusky Municipal Court records show he has been charged with nearly 20 criminal offenses in the past four years, the bulk of them involving alcohol or drug abuse.   

On his Facebook page, Milner recently posted this statement: “I wish my girl friend would really understand how much I love her and her 3 well soon to be 3 in two days year old son with all my heart no matter what comes threw my path their the only one I think about all I do is want them both to have the greatest life I can provide for them without them I wouldnt be the man I am today they helped me get out of some bad times and I thank them for that.”

On her Facebook page, Danielle Flannery, 22 — Owen’s mother — previously posted this in her profile: “i love my son more than anything in the world.”


For a follow up story on this incident with information on the previous child abuse report, pick up a copy of Thursday's Register.



the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

a. men want sex and will do whatever and promise her anything to get it,

b. they are nice if it serves their purposes to get what they want.

c. leaving your children alone with a man is NEVER a good idea! Because there are those who cannot stand the baby's crying and in their desperate attempts to get the child to stop, the child is beaten to death.

How many children will have to die at the hands of mentally unstable people?


 reading signs..I feel ya..It's better to be SAFE than SORRY. 


 um first off im not defending anybody i am sick over this just as much as any of you if not more bc i knew the guy a hell of alot more then you. idk if he beat him or not but i do know that it is a terrible thing to lose your baby. i am deeply saddened by this whole thing and i pray for his family. but no one knows the true story behind any of this.


 honestly in my mind i feel that if he did do it then he needs the death penalty and thats coming from someone whos known him. 


Just think ,  it  WAS  nearly    2  dead  kids in this area  all because of      both   mothers   shack ups   playing house.     Wonder how the Norwalk baby is doing.

Like somebody said on the other thread   It's  an epidemic.


 What a cute little boy. May he rest in peace.

 Although, I do not know the people involved, my question is.. WHY would a mother leave her son, with a person, that has been investigated by Human Services as recently as last summer? Or any time for that matter? There is alot of questions that have no answers. 


Mime Bloggling's picture
Mime Bloggling

"According to the National Marriage Project, divorce is no longer the greatest threat to family stability and child well-being. Cohabitation is “the largest unrecognized threat to the quality and stability of children’s family lives.” Children in cohabiting homes are much more likely to suffer abuse than children in intact, married families or single-parent families.

Adults can play house, but children need intact homes and a mother and father who love them."


This pretty much says it.

Mothers that shack up put their babies/children at a much higher risk for physical and sexual the LIVE-IN BOYFRIEND...who has no emotional capital in the child's not rocket science folks. Girls close your legs...don't give it our for free...get some pride and moral grounding and try some old-fashioned courtship. If you don't know what courtship is...Google it.

Not surprised that Children's Services may have fallen down here....

There's a special place in H-LL for this perp.

Rest in peace little won't be forgotten.



sandtown man

 do you know why the ropes a better plan than the bullet?you can use the rope over and over again. just saying.


This is a very sad day in Sandusky!


Thank you Mr. Fredericks for being a standup guy and doing the right thing.  In a world where so many people would just walk by and not bother to get involved, it is refreshing to see that someone cared enough to step in.  People like you sir, renew my faith in our fellow man.


i jus wana say my prayers go out to all baby owens family and as for that sick punk mike i know him and alot of his family and he has always been in trouble and a drug addict..its sick to think sumone can do this but it happens i have a 3 year old and i cudnt even imagin beating him to death but its pretty obvious wat happened jus listen to the 911 tape it sounds made up


Heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking.


Yes it is :(      But if Children Services would do a better job these babies could be safe !!


 @reading signs says, "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

a. men want sex and will do whatever and promise her anything to get it,

b. they are nice if it serves their purposes to get what they want.

c. leaving your children alone with a man is NEVER a good idea! Because there are those who cannot stand the baby's crying and in their desperate attempts to get the child to stop, the child is beaten to death."

Wow, let the man bashing begin.  Like Katelih, I'm sorry that you have had a bad experience with men.  Maybe women need to look in the mirror to see who is really at fault.  Stop going after the bad boy.  Guys with a bad boy image rarely if ever make a good mate, and are usually not father material.  Now to address your statements. 

a. of course men want sex, but so do most women, why else would a woman shack up with a guy she hardly knows and then subject her child (from another man, produced by you guessed to such immoral behavior.  There is only one reason, easy access to sex.

b.  Again, if you hook up with a bad boy, you are right, that's what you get, a man with no self-control.  Men are fairly easy to read, if you can't figure us out, should you be dating, or subjecting your child to your horrible choice in men?  Better that you stay single and without a man until the child is 18.  Unfortunately, these women don't have any self-control either, how do you think they got knocked up and had a child out of wedlock to begin with?            

c. This is far from the truth.  I have three boys, all teens now, I have spent many a day alone with them.  Yes, they can be frustrating, especially when they are babies and toddlers, but never once did it cross my mind to hurt them in any way.  A real man (not a bad boy), has this little thing called self-control, he knows when he is getting frustrated and is able to walk away.  Again women, look in the mirror, you are the one that ultimately chooses your mate.  A man can't be involved in you or your childs life if you don't let him.

As you can see, if you look at both sides of the coin, it is not just men that are the problem.  Women who are too weak to say no, and are of the opinion that it is more exciting to have that guy with the bad boy image rather than the laid back, well grounded, hard working, boring guy that are at the crux of the problem.  Have a nice day. From a loving husband and father to my children for the past 21 yrs :)


Boy, do I agree with Knuckle on this.  Don't use that brush on all men because it just does not apply.  Women are no different than men when it comes to sex so do not go there.   Yes, all kids can drive you crazy but you have to control yourself and always remember that children will be children.  I have major issues with the mom because she left her child in the care of this guy.  Ladies, you just can not do that .  That bundle of joy is YOUR bundle and not everyone feels the way you do.  The guy may love you but may not love your child.  I was a foster parent for years and can tell you how heartbreaking it is to be awaken at 3:00 in the morning only to be asked if you will take care of a severly abused child.  I will never forget the night they arrived with a toddler in a full body cast.  I still wonder about that kid to this day.  He could not speak but the look in his eyes said "Thank you".  My better half at the time was and still is one of the most caring mothers I have ever known.  There is a spot in heaven reserved for her.  I can say with certanty that my boys and girls are good adults where children are concerned and NEVER had a problem accepting kids into their home.  Yes, it was their home too.  

R. I. P. little man.  You are safe now.

I'm told the entire ER staff was in tears when he came in.  Doctors, nurses and all.  He was badly beaten and bruised and some of the bruises were old. 


Children can't raise children.


 Neither can Druggie LOSERS  who shack up.


@ anoldfriend

I have enough anger over this for everyone.

I just want to set some things straight.

You have a guy  watching a 3 year old beautiful child.  He has a  record, not only with SPD but also Children Services.  Mom should have thought about this, but maybe he's been beating on her too and no one knows.

This guy beats this child and instead of calling 911, he grabs the boy and starts running toward the hospital.  Great!  BUT he ends up running in circles in someone's driveway and someone else jumps in to help.

I'm not a forensic pathologist, but I can tell you that falling on a truck CANNOT AND WILLNOT cause internal injuries like the poor baby had unless he dropped him from a high place onto the truck, then maybe.  This baby suffered before, during, and after this beating and you have people defending a 24 year old for taking on a 3 year old.  What  a man!

SPD can screw up, they are all humans.  I don't think they did this time.  The coroner, and sometimes with the help of forensic pathologists, spoke for Baby Owen and said that he was beaten that this was a HOMOCIDE!!  He didn't fall and skin his knee, he was murdered.

If he's the only one home with Baby Owen then who do you think did this?  The dust bunnies under the couch?  Baby Owen beat himself to death?  Mom was a work.  He was the only one home.  You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know the answer to this.

My heart goes out to the family and I will always keep Owen in the heart and thoughts.  He was such a sweet baby.  RIP Owen 



And here is where our justice systems flaws will come into play again. Jimmy Dimora got 28 years for a corruption charge and he will probably do every day until he dies. This piece of work is goning to plea deal out to a involuntary manslaughter charge or something to that effect and get sentenced to 15 yrs and probably only do about 8 of that. Everyone needs to start calling the prosecutors office now and tell them we want Baxter to do his job for once and prosecute this not a plea deal.


 I have read several posts admonishing the mother of this little boy. Where was his father? Mom went to work, so to not be a burden on the taxpayer. I think that young women, with children, often live with a male for the extra help financially and other. It seems that rarily is a fraternal bond built between men and children that are not their own.


County services or someone   should start checking all these people  who   are shacking up not married and taking public assistance.   And I bet they were despite that  the mom  was working.  

People may be aware of other people doing stuff and  see activity and   NOT know the particular info  or names.    Services  could also  Do unannounced visits.   

Don't argue me with logistics --  I'm  just throwing that idea out there.


 Shacking up ... It 's a growing trend.      Out of hand really.   More and more common everyday.

 Unwed Moms +  live in or part time  shack up  +  drugs  =  More   liitle kids abused.

  The baby  BEATER  in Norwalk   &   the  Baby  KILLER   in Sandusky

  That's   WAY too many. 

 If  it  doesn't  PISS  ya  off  there's something wrong.



It's patently obvious that anyone who would beat a child to death pretty much deserves the maximum possible punishment. But it's just as obvious to me that a woman who would leave her child alone with a man who has repeatedly DEMONSTRATED irresponsibility and violence, doubtless compounded by ongoing substance abuse, is just as culpable.

I realize that there's never 100% certainty that a given man or woman is trustworthy. But when you've got that kind of record, I'm thinking there's virtually 100% certainty that this man ISN'T trustworthy. I don't want to hear, "But I LOOOoooooooove him!" or, "But he's been clean and sober for a bit now!" No excuses, not when there's a child who was, I think it's safe to say, pretty much tortured before he died!

Yes, sounds like the Human Services folks missed more than one opportunity to get this little boy into a far safer situation. But the blame never-the-less falls squarely on the shoulders of the people who actually CAUSED the death. I think it's unfortunate that the "baby mama" can't be charged as an accessory given that she most assuredly was. And no, I don't care how bad she might feel NOW. Too little, too late. Sorry.


Just because the  mom was working doesn't mean she's not getting  PA.  She's probably getting  something.

The real dad was apparently  working in Cleveland.   But she is the ONE who is  responsible for the kind of man  she brings around her kid.   She knew he had a record.  There were drugs involved.  She knew that too.

Why  take a chance like that. 

And the baby is the one who paid,

Norwalk baby too.


OH WOW , THAT  article  says it ALL. The 911 call  says  it all.HE BEAT  little  baby OWEn  more  than  this 1  time .... I'll say it again , if  you beat a baby ,  you have been beaten , the  person   who beat them  ;has  been  beaten ; so on   and  THE FAMILY  TRADITION  CONTINUED!.........   I  have  not  been  able  to  sleep  over  this ... Even though  my ONLy encounter  with MIKEY the BABY BEATER  was a  shouting disrespectful punk in a phone  conversation ;whom I said "  EXCUSE ME, punk , you may  talk to others  like  that , BUT YOU WILL NOT TALK TO ME LIKE THAT." You need  to learn respect  and  grow  your  punkyself up and get some brains"

I can tell you from experience .... THEY ALL  were  druggies  and  so  VIOLENT. His  father  threatened me  a few years ago and I filed a police report....When I came home to my hometown away from sandusky , I filed a police  report with them   and  they  watched my home  until my husband returned  from a  mission in the mideast. 

The Sandusky POLICE said to me  "oh , go back home, because  he is all talk"....

I have  many incidents  locked away in memory of the  repeat  VIOLENCE  a  HISTORY of abuse  and  neglect.....  all in the  name  of  a  *MILNER*....

Talk all you want, say  whatever you want..... I feel so bad  for  that sweet little  baby boy  who  was MURDERED ,1 thing I said  to  his relative .... You better  get some  help professionally,  BECAUSE YOU ALL HAVE MENTAL Problems .....

I am SO happy  to not  have  the  name MILNER!  and  I will continue  to pray FOR YOU ALL because  you all NEED IT!  

Seen it All

@ SamAdams.. I agree completely that these mothers need to be held accountable.  I have seen it on the news in the larger cities where they were charged with child endangering.  She knowingly left him with someone who does drugs (by his own admission on FB) , who has a problem with alcohol (proven by his record), who has been arrested for domestic violence, AND who was investigated by Children Services for abusing THIS same baby!!!!!!  What part of THAT didn't scream RED FLAG to that mother!!

The same goes for that mother in Norwalk, that let her infant suffer 8 broken bones, and NOT once did seek medical help for it!!  I cannot believe a baby could have a broken leg, and you don't realize that there is something terribly wrong with him!!  I don't care how young a mother you are, it just don't add up to me!  She should be thanking God above that her baby is still alive!!

As for both the men.. lock them up, throw away the key.  But don't let mommy go because she has suffered enough with the loss of a child that was completely preventable on HER part!


Cee Bee

you ppl are so damn quick too judge.. but no nothing.. i use to live next door to them.. and the comment he made about owen not being his son.. was not a lie. but he took care of  owen like he was his. ive personally never seen any marks on owen.. and how its it the mothers fault.. shes been leaving owen with mike. why would he just now want to kill him.. they both were good to owen..  and just bekuz he is being charge does not mean he did it.

he might have did it..i dont think he did. ONLY GOD KNOWS.

 Too sad to say much. All my condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of this precious little angel. *tears*

Tsu Dho Nimh

Many have commented about "children raising children".  Let us not forget, this is not a case of children raising children.  This is a case of young adults raising children.  Fifty years ago it was not uncommon for 18 and 19 year olds to marry and stay committed.  I personally think the key to these baby beatings is that people are having children outside of  committed relationships and new adults enter their lives.


I have been trying to put in to a few words the things my mind are screaming to say and maybe in a day or two I can get it, but today I just can't.  Originally I felt terrible for Owens mother .... I actually cried for her. Then I learned that children services had been involved for bruises Milner had left on Owens little bottom in the recent past and my tears for her turned into rage against her. In my opinion, and I really don't care if anyone does not agree, She is just as responsible for his death, if not more so ... than Milner. And as I have said MANY times in the past people ......... IF YOU JUST WILL CARE ENOUGH TO LEARN EXACTLY WHAT CHILDREN SERIVES IS NOT DOING TO PROTECT THE CHILDREN ...... YOU WILL BE SHOCKED!!!!!!!!! ASK THE DIRECTOR AT CHILDREN SERVICES, WHEN IT'S A GOOD TIME TO REMOVE A CHILD FROM THE BIOLOGICAL PARENTS HOME ...... JUST ASK.  Unless he now changes his opinion, you just may be shocked. Try reporting child abuse. How many of you have? Give them your name, or remain anonymous, either way it does not matter. Don't believe me? try it sometime.

With that being said .... IF they take a child out of a home ..... they NEED a SAFE place to put that child. IF you can provide a safe place, PLEASE become a foster parent. This is everyones problem and unfortunately until everyone gets involved the children WILL suffer and they will die. Please get involved.


CEE BEE  are  you that  dumb,  what part of  internal injuries do you not get?

Are you saying that the nurses and doctors are lying?

  Don't you think that they know what caused those injuries?