AUDIO: Wukie talks

Listen to Sandusky County coroner John Wukie explain suicide in interview with BCI
Dec 27, 2013

Listen to the interview below.

Sandusky County coroner John Wukie had no doubt how Jacob Limberios died when he talked with a BCI agent Oct. 10.

“Unfortunately, when someone puts a gun to their head and they can't tell us anything beyond that point we have no way to know what their intention was.”

The interviewer, Bureau of Criminal Investigation special agent Charlie Snyder, picks up on that response.

“Do you believe that establishing intent is necessary to rule a death as a suicide?” he asks Wukie.

“I have not in the past,” Wukie responds. “I think there are writings in two different camps on that...I've made a statement in (another) newspaper in the past that I didn't believe that intent was necessary to establish suicide.

“If someone puts a gun to their head and pulls the trigger and it goes bang, I've ruled all those suicides for the last 20 years,” Wukie tells Snyder. “In this region of the state the feeling is that if someone puts a gun to their head and pulls the trigger and it goes bang and they die we call those suicides.”

Click below for the audio of Wukie's interview 


Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine sees it differently. After a four-month investigation, his office determined the gun used to kill Jake was defective and his death was unintentional. 

“Everything just totally points to an accident,” DeWine told the Register. “We have no evidence he killed himself at all.”

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Matt Westerhold

Wukie says he relied on Overmyer; Overmyer says he relied on sheriff's Captain Michael Meggitt; and Meggitt said: 

“Everybody there was extremely shocked about what occurred,” Sandusky County Sheriff’s Capt. Michael Meggitt told a reporter on March 3, 2012, just hours after Jake was killed. “He wasn’t distraught. There’s not one person there that thought he did that intentionally.”

I don't understand the disconnect, and would prefer that Wukie, Overmyer and Meggitt simply provide a fuller explanation. 

“Everything just totally points to an accident,” AG Mike DeWine told the Register. “We have no evidence he killed himself at all.”

Also, the Jones case is relevant for a variety of reasons. It's set to likely go to trial. In addition, like the Limberios case, a different use of the word "suicide" was used and has been questioned, rightly so. And, for God's sake, he was sleeping; he could not be passed out and present a threat to the officers at the same time.

The death of Craig Burdine also is relavant because it involves Sandusky County sheriff's employees in the death of another resident, and the Ohio Attorney General is currently investigating it as a criminal matter. "Excited delirum" is a relatively new and controversial cause of death category; suffocating after having the cartilage in your neck fractured is not. 

As far as answering questions here, I try to do that. It's difficult, however, especially when some readers ask the same questions and ignore the previous answers. It can be a good forum to answer reader questions, perhaps, otherwise. We intend to make upgrades to the programming in 2014 that should improve the comments section. 

Thanks for the comment, JSchmidt. I hope this response is useful to you. 


If Mr. Jones was no threat, why call the cops? His parents could've taken the gun away. Is it an accurate statement that Mr. Burdine ran head first into a wall while under the influence of drugs and or alcohol? There are a lot more to these cases than you are reporting. If there were circumstances that may have played a part in these deaths, there should be a responsibility to report that as well.

Matt Westerhold

When his parents called he likely was a threat, but later, when he was sleeping on the couch, alone in the house, he was no longer a threat. Deputies stood just feet away from him. He was sleeping and not standing in a threatening posture when the deputies used the flash bang grenade to wake him up. They used a grenade, to wake him up. 

Simple Enough II

With a shotgun, and in the past having no problem firing at & into another person abode he was unhappy with.


There does appear to be some problems with SCSO and death investigations. But in the Jones and Burdine cases, SCSO conduct might be the cause of the deaths. That's different from the Limberios case, where the death occurred before SCSO arrived.

Sure everybody was shocked by what occurred. It's a traumatic experience to be present when someone dies by gunshot wound to the head. If the stories at the scene checked out with the evidence, it makes sense that the scene would be cleaned up as it wasn't a crime scene.

I think you are trying to say that the actions of SCSO need to be investigated in all the cases. If that's the case, you're barking up the wrong tree and debating these serious issues in a blog isn't helpful. You need to contact the feds.

I admire your efforts to work for justice, but your methods don't appear to be effective. You weren't effective in the Nuesse case either and the misconduct there was worse than in this case.

Once the system has an agenda in place, it's very hard if not impossible to stop the train.

Julie R.

"Once the system has an agenda in place, it's very hard, if not impossible, to stop the train."

No truer words were ever spoken.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Babo. Interesting observations.

The Register's job and the staff's job is to report the information to the best of our ability. It is not to be a decider and determiner of which agency should investigate which agency. We have successfully brought this information forward, which means we've done our job. It's up to residents and responsible public officials to fix whatever might be broken. 

The local FBI was informed of this problem as it persisted and continues. I'm not sure if the family contacted U.S. senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman or U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, or the Justice Department in Washington, but believe they intended to do that. It's an important decision what agency investigates, as shown by the developments that occurred in the last 22 months.  

Your final statement is exactly correct. Thanks for the comments.

Simple Enough II

Go back and read the burdine incident, what he did to the victim, what he did to himself PRIOR to being arrested by Fremont Police Department and transported by them to the county jail. Also in both the Jones case and burdine case we were not there all we know is what has been reported and in both cases neither family will own up to any responsibility of their child for his actions and behavior which resulted in the outcome.


Except that we (the public) expect law enforcement to be trained and not react inappropriately to provocations. In both the Jones and Burdine cases, the police could have stood down. There was no reason to crush Burdine's throat (hyloid fracture) nor was there any reason to throw a flash grenade and go in shooting in the Jones case.

Compare how a female nurse is charged with a felony for assaulting a combative male veteran (inexcusable but a felony?)while supposedly professional LE's can kill people with no repercussions.

The problem in my opinion is that the barriers to entry to becoming law enforcement officers (especially in rural counties) are too low and the field attracts the wrong type of man psychologically speaking. LE's are supposed to be peace officers not trigger happy frustrated warriors.


"Some readers ask the same questions and ignore the previous answers."

Yet the editor of this newspaper refuses or ignores to answer one question, that being the perceived conflict with the attorney for the family and his relationship with management of the newspaper. A patronizing response is not an answer.


You won't get the answers you are hoping for if you keep reading the factual evidence of the case. Stop trying to twist it to meet your needs, whatever those may be. Move on. The Justice for Jake and Ella supporters wish you the best, but move on.

Matt Westerhold

Sam: There's nothing unusual about an attorney writing a column for a newspaper. We decided to publish the foreclosure blog with the increase in foreclosures that occurred. It seemed to make sense to focus on that topic as a service to readers. For your perception to be credible, the Register would have somehow had to have planned this tragedy to capitalize on it. It's your perception, but it's not valid. You seem to be nitpicking and attacking the messenger while ignoring the value of the content. I'm not going to reply to further questioning from you in this forum, but if you have questions feel free to call me at 419-609-5866.


Matt I appreciate your answer, but still question the objectivity towards this subject. You certainly could not have planed or wanted this tragedy but have used it to the benefit of your newspaper for circulation purposes which I accept what newspapers are in business for, but what I perceive as a one sided attack on the Sandusky County officials and to the benefit of the family's attorney who has his side of the argument as the focus point of this newspapers views. Although you attempt to minimize my views as "nitpicking" I respect your views even in disagreement and would not characterize some of your responses as snide and patronizing which would be unprofessional from a jouranlist, once again we will agree to disagree.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Sam. It makes sense to question the objectivity. That's a by-product from local officials refusing to address questions raised. The Register has attempted to get response from Sandusky County officials but has been stonewalled. The Limberios family, too, has been stymied, since mid-March 2012. They have raised their questions in a civil suit, however, and in a very public way. The result is coverage being more focused on the family's 'search for the truth' and all it entailed, without involvement or engagement, self-denied, from local officials. The Register recently posted a news article about concerns raised by Dean Henry, the Tiffin attorney representing the county in the civil suit, in an attempt to inform readers of his concerns. But the newspaper cannot otherwise present information from the county's point of view if Henry or other county officials don't provide it. There are many angles to this story that remain — first up is whether the death certificate will be ordered changed — and coverage of that and other questions from the family is likely to continue. It's all newsworthy.


Fair enough, but shouldn't you provide all the documentation in the interest of fairness when it is available? For example, the entire email exchange between Henry and you could be posted.

Julie R.

What happened to White Owl? I enjoyed his or her comments but I haven't seen any for awhile. Come to think of it, where's Centauri? I haven't seen any of his/her comments in quite awhile, either.