A critically injured teen who was dropped off at Atrium Medical Center early Sunday has died and two Franklin men have been arrested and charged with his death, according to Franklin police.
The victim has been identified as Dione Payne, 16, of Dayton. Police said he was in Franklin to sell illegal narcotics when he was robbed and beaten.
Payne was left at the hospital early Sunday morning by two men in a black pickup truck with faded paint on the top and no tailgate, according to police. Payne was then transferred to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton where he later died from his injuries, said Franklin Police Chief Russ Whitman.
The unresponsive teen was pushed in a wheelchair by a man described as a white male wearing a black hoodie, according to a Middletown police report obtained by the Journal-News.
The man then fled. Hospital personnel said the teen was in critical condition and had heavy damage to his head and was bleeding from his ears, according to the report.
After Payne was transported to Miami Valley Hospital, personnel there contacted Middletown police, stating that the teen appeared to have been sexually assaulted, according to the report.
A nurse told police she talked with a passenger in the truck who said they had found the teen and they didn’t know him.
Investigators worked through the weekend to identify the victim and the suspects. It wasn’t until the Journal-News posted a story with the vehicle description that police got a break.
A woman who had looked at the truck for sale at a Middletown car lot recognized the description and called police, according to Lt. Scott Reeve.
“We called D&D Auto Sales and found out who they sold it to,” Reeve said, noting that led to the search warrant and arrest of the suspects in Franklin.
The Middletown Division of Police initiated an investigation to determine where the assault against the juvenile occurred. Middletown police’s investigation brought them to Franklin where they combined their efforts with that city’s police department.
Sunday night, officers served a search warrant at 11 Vernon St. in Franklin, the confirmed site of the teen’s beating. The Warren County Major Crimes Unit was requested to process the vehicle found there and the crime scene, according to Franklin police.
Two men — Michael A. Geldrich, 36, and Michael J. Watson, 39, both of Franklin — were taken into custody and charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated murder, Whitman said.
Both men have a criminal history in Warren County, according to court records. Geldrich had been arrested for domestic violence, theft and driving under suspension, according to Franklin Municipal Court records. Watson has arrests for felonious assault, disorderly conduct, assault, resisting arrest and inducing panic.
Anyone with more information about the case is asked to call Franklin police at 937-746-2882.
By Lauren Pack and Michael D. Pitman - Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio (MCT)
©2013 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio)
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