Signs bring attention to death

19-year-old Jacob Limberios died of a gunshot wound to the head on March 2, 2012, leaving behind a daughter named Ella, now 4.
TNS Regional News
Aug 12, 2013

 

Staked into the grass at the junction of State Rts. 101 and 412 on the way into Castalia is a 4-foot by 4-foot, white, wooden yard sign. “Justice for Jake and Ella Limberios,” it says in black-and-red stenciled letters.

Four hundred of these signs dot storefronts, yards of homes, and highway medians in Castalia and other towns in Sandusky and Erie counties. There are signs as far away as Bucyrus, Mansfield, and Columbus. Neighbors, friends, and strangers are showing solidarity for Jacob Limberios of Castalia, who died of a gunshot wound to the head on March 2, 2012.

That night, the 19-year-old was at a residence near Clyde handling a 357-caliber revolver. Somehow, it discharged and he was killed. He left behind a daughter named Ella, now 4.

Sandusky County Coroner John Wukie ruled the death an accidental suicide. Jacob’s parents, Michael and Shannon Limberios, were upset that an autopsy was not conducted immediately after the death to determine the cause and have always disputed the suicide ruling.

“I don’t think every death warrants an autopsy,” said Sean O’Connell, the Sandusky County sheriff’s detective assigned to the case last year. “I think certain criteria come into play for when an autopsy does or doesn’t need to be done. I don’t think the autopsy would have told us anything different.”

In September, 2012, the Limberioses hired Pittsburgh-based forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht to perform the first autopsy on Jacob. Because of the lack of gunpowder residue and stippling on Jacob’s body, he determined that the shot had to have been fired from farther away than 24 inches. He ruled it a homicide.

But in May, 2013, Lucas County Deputy Coroner Cynthia Beisser performed a second autopsy and reported that her findings were “not inconsistent” with the original ruling of suicide.

The sign campaign is meant to draw attention to the family’s search for a definitive cause of death and their dissatisfaction with the way Sandusky County officials handled the investigation.

“I don’t want this to happen to another family,” said Lonnie Siesel, one of the couple’s neighbors who helped spearhead the sign campaign.

This last winter, Christine Wiedle, who lives next door to the Limberios family, put the first sign out in her front yard, with the words “Shame on you, Sandusky County. Mike DeWine, please step in” scrawled on paper.

The attorney general’s office did take over the case in June, with attorneys Marianne Hemmeter, Matt Donahue, and William Schenck assigned to the investigation.

Ms. Wiedle and Ms. Siesel ask for a minimum donation of $5 for the signs to cover the cost of making them, offset some of the family’s legal fees, and pay for a gravestone for Jacob.

Brady Gasser, Jacob’s best friend, is working with State Rep. Chris Redfern (D., Catawba Island) to create Jake’s Law, which would require coroners or medical examiners to conduct an autopsy on every violent or suspicious death.

“We were always surprised to hear that Dr. Wukie didn’t actually break any laws,” Mr. Gasser, 20, said.

This summer, Mr. Redfern has been meeting with David Corey, executive director of the Ohio State Coroners Association, to discuss ways to change state law without eliminating coroners’ responsibilities or accruing unintended costs for counties.

“My objective is to find an opportunity to change the coroners law in this state so that an autopsy occurs when a suicide is the cause of death to ensure that suicide is the actual cause of death,” said Mr. Redfern, who knew of the case from the signs.

“Every week when I drive to Columbus, I drive through the town of Castalia,” he said. “I see the signs up. ... You can’t help but know this case.”

The sign campaign and the Justice for Jake & Ella Facebook page also brought the Limberioses yet another opinion on Jacob’s death last week.

Kevin Whaley, a medical examiner for the state of Virginia, contacted the family through the Facebook page and offered to give his unbiased opinion of the cause of death. After reviewing the reports from the autopsies, he too ruled it a homicide.

“There was no gunshot residue and nothing on Jacob’s scalp that fits with it being a close wound,” Dr. Whaley said. “There’s nothing to support that he did it himself. ... But I’m having to rely on their descriptions because I haven’t seen the body.”

Mr. O’Connell disputes Dr. Whaley’s homicide ruling.

He said that Dr. Whaley is “making a ruling only based on what the family has provided him, and the family hasn’t been provided with everything we have. I don’t think it’s fair for him to make a determination without having everything.”

Since its investigation of the case is ongoing, the attorney general’s office declined to comment on Dr. Whaley’s findings.

Mr. Limberios said Dr. Whaley’s report just confirms his belief. Until the final determination is made, though, he and his wife take comfort in the signs.

“Me and my wife drive out and we see these signs,” Mr. Limberios said. “It tugs at your heart.”

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By Arielle Stambler - The Blade, Toledo, Ohio (MCT)

©2013 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

Visit The Blade (Toledo, Ohio) at www.toledoblade.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Comments

BlueAngel

Will there be another autopsy??? If there are 2 coroners that say "homicide"..then its best to keep looking!

brassman

You mean the bought and paid for one and the one who obviously wanted his name in the paper? Yeah, they're believable.

mamaC

Ok Brassman since you know so much on here and the Register. Please explain how Stippling was NOT found on Jake? EVERYONE including Dr. Beisser did not even find that. That is the number 1 and Only thing that would prove Jake killed himself. It doesn't matter what way the bullet went in or out. It only matters if stippling is present, which EVERYONE INVOLVED has stated there wasn't any. So, if I were any of the "witnesses" I'd be scared because someone else DID pull that Trigger.. Only a matter of time because the truth will come out. Justice for Jake & Ella Find us on Facebook

brassman

The family paid for the results they wanted. The other guy crawled out of the woodwork out of the goodness of his own heart? Doubtful. I'll wait for the Attorney General's ruling.

mamaC

Oh no no no Brassman.. Please explain why Dr. Beisser found NO STIPPLING! Dr, Beisser was SANDUSKY COUNTY autopsy. Let's not side step this with your "bought and paid for" Bs. Stippling would show IF Jake pulled the trigger. Which NONE of them said was present. SO there for I would say the AG office couldn't say there was when nobody has said in their reports there was. All this other side stepping saga is just that. If stippling wasn't there you must rule homicide. Jake did NOT kill himself! Justice for Jake & Ella Find us on Facebook

brassman

I don't have to. That came from the PAID FOR BY THE FAMILY autopsy. I'll wait for the official ruling from the Attorney General. As of now, he killed himself. That's the OFFICIAL ruling. Officially they've ruled twice that he shot himself and I sure as heck believe that over the biased one they paid for. Sorry, you don't like it but that's fact. It's been ruled twice. Until it's changed...if it ever is...he killed himself. Scream stippling all you want. It doesn't change the fact that the authorities and many, many people believe he killed himself. It's sad the family refuses to accept the truth. Now, go ahead with your pitiful attempts to insult me. I couldn't care less.

Kelly

Watch out. They'll probably pay someone to insult you.

brassman

Heh yeah

mamaC

The "authorities" you speak of have No education or experience that the Pathologist have.

Nettiewata

Brassman were you always an idiot or is this something you've acquired with age? Whether or not they paid for an autopsy doesn't change the fact that a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head would leave stippling marks behind. I'm not sure where the county coroner went to school because I thought that was a well known fact. If this were your son or father or brother wouldn't you want to know the absolute truth about his death? If there is even the slightest doubt then I would want it checked into and find out what really happened. Try showing a little compassion for the family of this young man.

Lil DAB

✰Michael & Shannon, and Limberios family and friends, you have countless prayers and support! Now it's Justice' turn! It's coming!✰

☼“Working together, ordinary people can perform extraordinary feats. They can push things that come into their hands a little 'Higher' up.”☼ Unknown

swiss family

My heart goes out to this young man's daughter, and family and friends. It is criminal, that the parents have not only had to struggle with the loss of their son, but have also had to endure the public scrutiny that so many heartless locals have said about them and their son, along with all of the many exhumations that have been necessary to get to the truth. I am sure it was extremely hard to bury their son once, but to have to keep doing it over and over is criminal.

I would also like to comment on the Reflector writer, who writes the "Cheap Coffee Club" articles, and say to him that this is the tragedy that you made light of in your article.. you were trying to be amusing and to elicit some comedy into something that you never checked into before you blindly wrote about this. I understand that you were "ignorant" of the facts in the case, but I feel that if you are going to mention this in your "comedic" article, you have the responsibility to get the facts BEFORE you make such inappropriate comments as you did..I would hope that you had the decency to contact the family and apologize for your public, hurtful, misunderstanding in my opinion

mamaC

Swiss thank you for your kind words. I know the family is very grateful for the supporters and the kind words.
On the "Cheap Coffee Club" subject I think I may have missed that. Can you provide a link to this or refer me to where to find this at. Or you can message it to Justice for Jake & Ella on facebook. I search their site and nothing came up. Anyone finding humor in something so tragic is appalling. Thanks again.

smalltown_lotso...

Here is the link. http://www.norwalkreflector.com/.... I can't believe I actually just took the time out of my day to read it. Smh

starryeyes83

There were a lot of laws broke that night. Starting with the people at the house and the underage drinking.

Who's going to be charged in that regard?