UPDATE: Prosecutors to review case for possible felonies

Cary Ashby • Updated Oct 6, 2016 at 3:19 PM

Prosecutors will confer before making a decision if any charges will be filed against the foster parents accused of abusing a 22-year-old developmentally disabled man.

After reviewing the reports from the Huron County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, Norwalk Assistant Law Director Scott Christophel said he talked to county Prosecutor Daivia Kasper since it was most appropriate for her office to further review the case for possible felonies. The foster parents aren’t being named because they haven’t been charged.

“We will wait and see after a review of the reports,” Christophel said. “It’s not been determined what, if any, criminal charges will be filed.”

Prosecutors have the option of handling the case as an indictment or start the case with filing charges in Norwalk Municipal Court. 

The 22-year-old developmentally disabled man has alleged the couple hit him with a wooden board, have tied him up with rope in his bedroom and failed to feed him, according to a search warrant affidavit filed Wednesday in municipal court. The man is now in a Tiffin group home.

Several detectives and Sheriff Dane Howard used a search warrant at the Collins residence late Tuesday morning. Also at the scene were officials from the county Humane Society, dog warden’s office and health department. There were several horses, four dogs and a bird on the property.

Huron County Public Health sent sanitarian Trevor Risner to the home for an inspection at the request of the sheriff’s office. 

“There were some things we noticed that we want to work on with the homeowners,” said Eric Cherry, director of environmental health. “The were things that we want to be corrected.”

When asked for details, Cherry said the couple could be required to handle some “general cleanliness issues.”

“I can’t comment much beyond that because they haven’t received a notification from us,” he added. “We will send them a letter of what we found.”

As far as the rest of the case goes, Cherry said the health department’s involvement will be secondary to what the sheriff’s office and Huron County Department of Job and Family Services does.

In general, he said the only way the health department finds out about poor or questionable living conditions is through a family member or another county agency.

“We don’t make a habit of going into people’s houses for no good reason,” Cherry added. 

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