Sandusky County won't turn Limberios investigation over to state

And on the third day, they reneged on their agreement.
Emil Whitis
Feb 6, 2013

On Friday, Sandusky County Sheriff's Detective Sean O'Connell told the Register and Limberios family attorney Dan McGookey that he'd ask the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to take over an 11-month-old investigation into the March 2 shooting death of Jacob Limberios.

When O'Connell hung up the phone, however, Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer vetoed the agreement. 

"I said (to O'Connell), 'You better wait until you talk to (Sandusky County coroner John) Wukie,'" Overmyer said. "It's up to Dr. Wukie — he's the one that ordered (the third investigation)."

O'Connell did not return multiple phone calls Monday seeking comment. 

Deputies closed their initial investigation within hours of Wukie ruling Jacob's death an accidental suicide. 

At about 9:30 p.m. March 2, deputies found Jacob, 19, lying dead in a County Road 294 home. He had a single gunshot wound to the head. 

Deputies found a .357 revolver near the body, although the sheriff's office didn't actually retrieve the fatal bullet from the home until eight months later. 

Three witnesses — two men and a woman — were in the home when Jacob died. They all told deputies Jacob shot himself, and he may not have known the gun was loaded. 

Wukie ruled it a suicide and released Jacob's body to a funeral home the next day. 

Jacob's family still had questions in the weeks that followed, but deputies told them the investigation was closed. 

Not until McGookey and Jacob's parents, Mike and Shannon Limberios, stormed Sandusky County prosecutor Tom Stierwalt's office did Stierwalt order his investigator, William Kaiser, to take another look at the case. 

Kaiser got two of the three witnesses to take polygraph tests. In July he said the polygraph results showed the two were telling the truth. 

Kasier's final report also said there was no evidence that Jacob meant to shoot himself. 

In September —after months of pleading with authorities to conduct an autopsy — the family took matters into their own hands. They paid to have Jacob's body exhumed and sent to Pittsburgh for an examination by renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht. 

In December, Wecht dropped a bombshell. He said it was a homicide and, in his opinion, someone shot Jacob. 

By then, under mounting pressure from a lawsuit filed by the Limberios family, Wukie reopened the investigation a third time and placed O'Connell in charge.

In November, O'Connell sifted through the witness statements and photos of the scene. From the attic of the home, he recovered the bullet that killed Jacob. 

He also reinterviewed the three witnesses, and he later told the Register he found "major inconsistencies" in their statements. 

Then, on Friday, O'Connell agreed to ask BCI to take over the case, given that he was essentially investigating the work product of his higher-ups in Sandusky County — Overmyer, Wukie and Stierwalt. 

But on Monday — just three days after agreeing to ask BCI to step in — O'Connell back-pedaled and sent a lengthy email to McGookey. 

"I truly think that it's in the best interest of my agency and those that I work for that I NOT ask the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) to take over my investigation," O'Connell said. "I am comfortable and confident that … this investigation will conclude with what really happened on March 2, 2012." 

Overmyer said O'Connell is hard at work and giving the case "110 percent."

Overmyer also confirmed that he ordered O'Connell not to let BCI take the case.  

"We just want this thing to be thorough," Overmyer said. "I truly feel for the family."

Depositions in the case are scheduled for next week. Subpoenas have been issued to O'Connell, Wukie, Overmyer, Kaiser, Stierwalt, deputy Zach Zender, the three witnesses, and Steve Stechschulte, the BCI employee who conducted the polygraph tests.

 

Comments

bondgirlM

What is Sandusky County afraid of?

luvblues2

Now that they have been found to be incompetent, they want to show they can handle the job. In essence, they are asking for another chance to do it right.

Commenter

I would think they are afraid of losing their jobs. How can you rule a death without seeing the body? 4 kids, one of them dead, 1 gun, empty beer cans and you don't do an autopsy? It just doesn't make sense. Simply sending the body for an autopsy would have prevented all of this. It's that simple.

Darkhorse

It is time to investigate the entire Sheriff's Department.

Rod Farva

Can a sheriff be impeached? This guy is an idiot

Just Sayin IMHO

There is another story here. Events took place right before, during, and after that initial phone call to the BCI. THAT is what I would like to hear about.... Somebody felt that help was needed. Someone else disagreed. So now it is a matter of perceptions of competency.

mikel

as the world turns! nothing new. why not wait until there is actually something new about this instead of dragging it through the mud on an almost daily basis?

tk

After months of this incompetency and misinformation how could anyone believe them now no matter what conclusion they come to? They can not be trusted but unfortunately neither can the Attorney General.

luvblues2

I do not believe that Sandusky County nor OBCI is capable of handling this.

Centauri

"I do not believe that Sandusky County nor OBCI is capable of handling this."

I agree. Why are the Sandusky County, Ohio powers that be afraid of the truth? I already know why.

Krokus

3.08 Removal of public officers.

Proceedings for the removal of public officers on any of the grounds enumerated in section 3.07 of the Revised Code shall be commenced by the filing of a written or printed complaint specifically setting forth the charge and signed by qualified electors of the state or political subdivision whose officer it is sought to remove, not less in number than fifteen per cent of the total vote cast for governor at the most recent election for the office of governor in the state or political subdivision whose officer it is sought to remove, or, if the officer sought to be removed is the sheriff or prosecuting attorney of a county or the mayor of a municipal corporation, the governor may sign and file such written or printed complaint without the signatures of qualified electors.

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/gp3

concernedmom81

All of these "officials" need to go. I just hope the public looks a little deeper at the morals of whomever may be next in line. It won't bring Jake back but hopefully could prevent another family from having to go through this battle and all of this pain. Time to turn it over boys to someone that CAN AND WILL get this puzzle put together once and for all! It's almost been a year but Jake...your justice is coming :)

Pastor Ron

Maybe O'Connell should put himself and Overmyer in the next issue of cuffs. This is at least Overmyer's 3rd major screw up that I can think of in his short tenure. The cold blood murder by his swat team of a drunk felon, the stripper putting on shows in the jail, and now this. Kyle you are not even qualified to the security at Drug Mart!

Kottage Kat

Someone needs to get governor involved.
send him copies and cite the law
PLEASE for Jake

Commenter

How do you get the governor involved?

Kottage Kat

I do not live in sandusky county or I would be on this faster than a fat kid on a cupcake

Commenter

Why do you have to live in the County?

LookingDown

you don't ....that's just her way of saying do something about it but not me....I'm going to sit behind my computer and complain and tell other ppl how to get it taken care of........

Commenter

Seems to be a lot of people that comment on these stories like that. They know it all, but don't take any action.

Cityslicker

Unfortunatly, the coroner has the final say. He is the highest law enforcement official in the county. In fact, the coroner is the only person that can arrest the Sheriff.

Commenter

The Coroner DIDN'T SEE THE BODY! It was a Friday night, didn't want to be bothered? An autopsy should have been performed and maybe, just maybe this wouldn't be happening.

Commenter

And that's really sad that the coroner has the final say.

Jmschmidt812

You people are unbelievable. Blame the sheriffs office for an investigation that never should have been needed. Place blame where it lies. Blame whoever gave the kid the gun, or who whoever was the irresponsible person who didn't have it locked up. When will people start taking responsibility for their actions? Had the gun not been available it wouldn't have happened.

Commenter

I disagree with you on the blame part, blame the coroner for ruling a death without seeing the body, that's what this is really about- incompetence on the coroner's part and now his cronies are trying to protect him.
I agree, he shouldn't have had the gun, but he did and if he didn't pull the trigger, it's murder, and if the coroner just took the word of 3 kids as witnesses, without an investigation, that's just wrong.

JHudson320

I agree with you, Commenter. Bad things happen sometimes when guns are involved, but it's up to the county officials to do their jobs. I blame the sheriff who didn't do an investigation of any kind and who did not follow protocol, and I blame the coroner, who should have at least LOOKED at Jake's body before saying he "accidentally committed suicide." And I blame the whole group of officials who have continued to cover up for each other. They still refuse to do what is best for Jake's family and best for the case in order to get answers... It infuriates me that Overmyer says he "feels for the family" when he's done nothing to help them find the truth in the last 11 months.

Also, Jake wasn't just some dumb kid with a gun. He knew everything about guns, including how to safely use one. If the previous commenter would have read the other articles, he would know that Jake did not shoot the gun himself.

Commenter

I just don't understand why higher authorities aren't seeing this?
The politics of politics...

Centauri

I have to give the Sandusky Register a big thumbs up for not giving up and continue to put the pressure on the powers that be in Sandusky County, Ohio. Those powers that be are really getting very nervous. Newspapers in the past have exposed corruption. Think about Watergate. The powers that be in Washington DC tried to cover that up. It took a couple of newspaper reporters to expose Watergate. The #2 man in the FBI was afraid for his life so he went anonymously to a newspaper to expose the truth.

Sitting In The ...

If you want to find the truth simply let the other person talk in this case when Mr.Overmyer is quoted saying "I truly think that it's in the best interest of MY agency and THOSE THAT I WORK FOR that I NOT ask the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) to take over my investigation,". You have told the general public that upholding the law is not as important as covering up for yourself your department and whoever else is close to you that might be affected through an external investigation.

Commenter

Right On!!

wiredmama222

Look, all, one of you in Sandusky County has to do is ALL channel 3 news or Channel 11 news or even Channel 5 news and get ahold of their investigative reporters. They will have one of their omnibudsmen down to that courthouse SOOOOOO fast it will make your head spin. Tell them all about the story and what is going on. Tell them that the SR has been following it and what the Sheriff is up to. They will take it from there. These guys will contact Matt Westerhold and get the ball rolling.

From there someone needs to write to the AG and get him started. And let things take their course. OK? It's that simple. But you need press coverage first. Now someone get on it.

Can't someone give these guys the number for channel 3, 5, or 11 news?

channel 11 wkyc 216-344-3300 here's a start....try and see if they would be interested in helping you guys out with a story on this. Why won't these guys talk? Tell them to go talk to Matt Westherhold first. Couldn't hurt?!!!!

Commenter

Couldn't you do it no matter what county you live in?
Why does someone else have to do it? Why can't you?
I did.

wiredmama222

ok, I will do that and more.

mamaC

I have been for months now messaging all news channels in Ohio.. Cnn,dateline,Gma,Fox,today show,20/20 etc Dr Phil even. I send stuff daily! No reply yet. I even have email Journalist personally and have crossed messaged from my Fb.. ugh! I have used different headings to grab attention and pictures and links.. I am getting aggravated nobody replies! :(

Commenter

Don't give up!

DGMutley

"3.08 Removal of public officers.

Proceedings for the removal of public officers on any of the grounds enumerated in section 3.07 of the Revised Code shall be commenced by the filing of a written or printed complaint specifically setting forth the charge and signed by qualified electors of the state or political subdivision whose officer it is sought to remove, not less in number than fifteen per cent of the total vote cast for governor at the most recent election for the office of governor in the state or political subdivision whose officer it is sought to remove, or, if the officer sought to be removed is the sheriff or prosecuting attorney of a county or the mayor of a municipal corporation, the governor may sign and file such written or printed complaint without the signatures of qualified electors.

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/gp3 " <<< Krokus

Excellent post! Thanks for posting!