Fatal beating haunts Green Springs family

GREEN SPRINGS Sandy Rios sat on her father's porch Wednesday afternoon, surrounded by the sound of b
Sarah Weber
May 24, 2010

 

GREEN SPRINGS

Sandy Rios sat on her father's porch Wednesday afternoon, surrounded by the sound of birds and scattering leaves.

This little white house in rural Green Springs was her childhood home, where she raised sheep and opened birthday presents.

She described it Wednesday as paradise lost.

Staining the serenity of the country home, a trail of blood led across the porch and down the front stairs. It provided a glimpse into a violent attack that occurred there early Sunday morning.

Sandy's father, Frank Rios Jr., 80, and his wife Bette "Sue" Rios, 69, were brutally beaten with a bat by an intruder who made off with about $500 worth of items.

Frank Rios died 18 hours later at Toledo's St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, having suffered massive head trauma.

Sue, though bruised and cut, is recovering from the attack.

Seneca County Sheriff's detectives are on the hunt for whoever committed the assaults, and Sandy said she is doing everything she can to provide information.

She said her family is gathering money to supplement a reward offered by the Seneca County Sheriff's office for information leading to the person responsible for the her father's death.

"I don't want to see any other families in the area go through this," she said. "You can't even call this man an animal, because animals don't do this to each other."

Though her father was in his 80s, he had the strength and energy of a much younger man, Sandy said. This summer he tore the roof off the aging farmhouse, and felled a pine tree that was blocking his front-porch view of the countryside.

"This barbarian robbed my father of 20 years of his life," she said. "Ask anyone: He would have lived to 100."

Sandy said Frank had a rifle but was surprised by the attack and did not have time to retrieve it. Even so, she said area residents should protect themselves with guns and dogs.

Sue said she is still in shock from the assault.

Her voice was quiet, but clear as she described what happened that night.

She said Frank started locking the doors of the house in recent years, but on Saturday he went out to take care of his beloved barn cat, Ragsy, and forgot to lock up.

Sue said she could not talk about the attack because the information could be essential to the investigation; however, police reports indicate the couple heard the front door shut before 5 a.m. Sunday.

Frank confronted the man who entered the home only to be brutally attacked. The man turned the bat on Sue before fleeing with some hastily grabbed items.

She said neighbors have been keeping their light on at night, and she has had trouble sleeping even though her son is staying with her.

"The poor cat is a nervous wreck," she said. "Every time he hears something, he runs and hides in the closet."

Sgt. Kevin Reinbolt said the sheriff's office is casting a wide net looking for a suspect. Though the intruder was initially described by Sue as a tall, slender white male, Reinbolt said it was so dark and chaotic during the attack detectives are not ruling anyone out.

Officers are gathering evidence and patrolling the area for suspicious activity, he said.

"It's one day at a time, but I believe we'll get our person," he said.

Anyone with information should call the sheriff's office at 419-447-3456.