Sandusky baby's 2009 death still a mystery

On the evening of March 27, 2009, something awful happened in a small upstairs apartment at 1044 Camp St. Nearly 14 months later, police and prosecutors acknowledge it was a criminal act, but they can't definitively say who caused it. The death of 7-week-old Logan Bain has been ruled a homicide, but officials have yet to make an arrest.
Shawn Foucher
May 19, 2010

On the evening of March 27, 2009, something awful happened in a small upstairs apartment at 1044 Camp St.

Nearly 14 months later, police and prosecutors acknowledge it was a criminal act, but they can't definitively say who caused it.

The death of 7-week-old Logan Bain has been ruled a homicide, but officials have yet to make an arrest.

"Certainly the coroner's report is extremely troubling," Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter said. "It's obviously been ruled a homicide -- some criminal act caused the death of this child."

The infant died at Firelands Regional Medical Center late that evening, after someone inflicted blunt trauma to his fragile, barely formed skull. The injuries were external, Baxter said.

It's been so long since the incident, Baxter said he can't recall whether investigators suspected the injuries were caused by an object striking the child's head, or if the child's head struck a hard surface.

"I would have to look at the files," Baxter said.

He remembers Logan did not die from shaken-baby syndrome, where a caregiver shakes a child violently until death.

Days after the boy's death, the Register reported police were investigating it as suspicious. Erie County coroner Brian Baxter said at the time he had originally suspected the infant died of gastroschisis, a condition where the bowels are outside the body.

An autopsy performed that week by the Lucas County coroner's office, however, spurred further investigation.

At the time, police and prosecutors declined to elaborate on the cause for suspicion.

The Lucas County coroner ruled the baby's death a homicide days later, but the ruling wasn't announced to the public.

It wasn't discovered until the Erie County Health Department posted its annual report on its website this past week, listing three homicides in Erie County in 2009.

Erie County Health Department registar Molly Mihalek said Logan's death was one of the three, caused by "abusive head trauma."

Sandusky police detectives John Orzech and Helen Prosowski both headed up the investigation. They said the county prosecutor's office is still working on the case.

"We discussed it with the prosecutor's office as recently as last month," Orzech said. "It's a complicated case."

Baxter and the two detectives said the child was home with his father for much of the day when he died.

"I'm not sure if we can isolate who was with the child when the injuries were sustained," Baxter said. "It appears one of the parents was, or both, but we don't know that information."

He said moving forward without enough evidence can damage the likelihood that a case holds up in court.

"As far as I'm concerned it's still under investigation," Baxter said. "We have not been able to isolate a suspect to the extent of charging someone and going to trial."

Both parents have retained services of attorneys, he said.

In the Register's initial story about the death, coroner Brian Baxter said the parents, Matthew Bain, now 27, and Dayna Gadberry, 22, were "nice kids" from a "nice family."

Contacted at her Marblehead home on Monday, Matthew Bain's mother, Carol Engel, said her son is living in Bellevue now and is not interested in discussing the matter.

She said a reporter who wrote the April 2009 article misinterpreted the "way he tried to say how he felt about wanting to be left alone" when Logan died.

Baxter said his office will have to move ahead on the case at some point.

But they'll need new developments to carry it forward. No new evidence has surfaced in recent months.

The death of an infant presents an especially difficult dilemma because information isn't always consistent, he said.

"There are cases that we've had -- that every prosecutor's office has had -- where a child has died or been injured, and there's two parents there," Baxter said. "And we're just not getting the information you'd hope from either one of (them), that maybe explains the injuries or death (so) that it's consistent with the medical evidence."

Jack Kersker, owner of the Camp Street Bar and the landlord who rented the upstairs apartment to Logan's parents, said he'd always wondered what happened to the baby.

"People would ask me whatever happened with that. ..." he said. "I never heard one way or the other if it was accidental or what."