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Another JFS probe

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:52 PM

The state is investigating how the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services (HCJFS) handled an abuse complaint involving a Norwalk baby who died later from suspected shaken baby syndrome.

The 10-month-old infant, Donavan Lykins, died Feb. 24 at an Akron hospital after being flown from Fisher-Titus Medical Center. Prosecutors said a neighbor had reported Feb. 11 that the boy had bruises on his body.

Jeffrey A. Resor, 26, of 33 Bouscay Ave., is being held at the Huron County Jail on a $1 million bond. He is charged with murder and has an April 20 preliminary hearing scheduled in Norwalk Municipal Court.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services conducts investigations of child fatalities when the local agency had "an open case in the last 12 months" or when the agency had custody of the same child, state spokesman Dennis Evans said.

"It's not stepping in. It's protocol," Evans explained, saying he can't comment on specific cases.

The review studies how HCDJFS "responded and if they followed (state) guidelines" for cases similar to the Lykins one, he continued. Evans said there's no time frame for the review to be completed, adding that it depends on the depth of the local agency's involvement.

"It's case by case," he said.

Norwalk Assistant Law Director Stuart O'Hara said the state agency would be investigating the HCDJFS process, not criminal charges.

"I haven't had a child die under these kind of circumstances," he said.

At the time of the Norwalk child's death, authorities called the situation suspicious and mysterious and ordered an autopsy. Summit County Chief Medical Examiner Lisa Kohler ruled Thursday that Lykins' death was a homicide and possibly died of shaken baby syndrome.

Resor was arrested without incident that same day. He is accused of shaking the boy while baby-sitting for his then girlfriend, Gwen M. Herber, O'Hara said last week.

O'Hara has said Herber, the boy's mother, was not a suspect and isn't believed to be involved in her son's death in any way. Authorities have not yet determined a suspected motive for Resor.

The defendant could waive his preliminary hearing and face a possible indictment by a Huron County grand jury. Prosecutors meet with the grand jury Friday.

If convicted of the murder charge, Resor could face 15 years to life in prison.

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