Dog mauling victim feared for her life

Published: Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 1:15 PM
Updated: Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 9:35 PM


            Andrew Nason, 28, and Julie Custer, 25, both of Dayton.
Andrew Nason, 28, and Julie Custer, 25, both of Dayton.

Klonda Richey, killed in a dog mauling Friday morning, regularly filed complaints about her next-door neighbors and their dogs and made numerous statements that she feared for her life.

"If you want to hurt me, shoot or stab me. Leave cats in peace," Richey apparently wrote in an undated letter to her neighbors Julie Custer, 25, and Andrew Nason, 28, 35 E. Bruce Ave. The letter was included in hundreds of pages of court documents, a civil complaint order and other complaints and dispatch logs from the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center and Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center.

The paper trail obtained by News Center 7 and the Dayton Daily News documents a consistent effort by Richey, 57, to call attention to what she considered threats to her safety. The dogs were never removed from the home as a result of her many complaints.

She was naked when her body was found in the snow Feb. 7 outside her home, 31 E. Bruce Ave., by a passer-by. When police arrived, two mixed-Mastiff breeds charged at them, prompting the officers to shoot and kill them.

Custer and Nason, owners of the dogs responsible for the mauling, were arrested Friday. They were released from jail Sunday evening.

"Due to the complex nature of the laws concerning animals, we just felt that at this point it would be better off to get our ducks in a row before we proceeded any further," Dayton Sgt. Richard Blommel said, explaining why Custer and Nason were released. "We're still investigating and we'll meet again with the prosecutors when they feel that we have enough to move forward for an indictment."

Meantime, detectives are trying to determine what led the dogs — identified by the county coroner's office as Cane Corsos, a breed in the Mastiff family — to fatally maul Richey.

News Center 7 and the Dayton Daily News have learned that Richey filed complaints with the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center and sought a civil stalking protection order denied by a magistrate in February 2013. Richey appealed, but was denied by Judge Michael Krumholtz in April 2013.

Custer and Nason, in the protection order, stated that Richey had been harassing them.

"At one point she also stated to Andrew Nason 'the world would be better off [if] you died,' Custer wrote in a letter to the court as part of the protection order documents.

Richey, who worked for Montgomery County's Job & Family Services, regularly called the regional dispatch center in the past two years with concerns about Custer and Nason and numerous complaints about the dogs running loose in the neighborhood. Many of the complaints, dating as far back as 2012, were called in by an anonymous female who said the dogs were loose and charged at her. Other complaints involved the dogs barking or not having adequate food.

In one report from March 16, 2013, a woman called the ARC to report that the mailman would not longer deliver mail to the street until a loose dog was taken care of.

"The dog has come after (the complainant) before and she states that now (the owner) will let his dog loose to go after her and her cats," the report states. The ARC employee who handled that report noted that ARC officials left a warning on the door of 35 E. Bruce after knocking and receiving no answer. They could hear a dog barking inside.

Friends of Richey described her as an animal lover and dedicated volunteer in Montgomery County's Republican Party.

Monday night, Ted Richey, of Indianapolis, said he tried for years to persuade his sister to move out of the neighborhood. He said his sister kept a large number of cats in her home, which brought her attention.

"She had a cat door, if they were outdoor cats they could come and go… Some neighbors, especially when houses are close together like that, don't appreciate that," Ted Richey said. "She had some run-ins with neighbors, but I certainly didn't expect anything like this to come of it.

"She considered it as much of the cat's house as it was hers. That was their home and there wasn't any reason she should leave just because some of the neighbors didn't like her cats. She could be stubborn in those kind of things," he said.

The autopsy on Klonda Richey was performed Saturday by the coroner's office, which said Monday that she died of blood loss.

"The injuries were severe and multiple," Coroner Kent Harshbarger said. "This is one of the worst that we've ever seen."

The crime lab is working to match dental impressions left on the body with the teeth of the two dogs. Their carcasses have been preserved as evidence.

"We want to be able to say without a doubt, these two animals were involved, and that both animals were involved and not just one," Harshbarger said.

The licensed dogs belonged to Custer, who lived at the single-family home at 35 E. Bruce Ave. with Nason, according to police.

Said Blommel of Nason: "He is just as responsible for them as she is."

Owners have the responsibility to make sure their dogs are confined and that they abide by licensing and restraining laws, said Blommel, who noted the fencing at 35 E. Bruce was not secure.

Tom Hagel, a professor with the University of Dayton School of Law, said fatal dog bite cases are rare and the prosecution is likely taking extra time to make sure they have the correct charges before proceeding. "The problem is, in cases that are based on reckless behavior, you as a prosecutor have to be able to prove that the defendants knew or had very good reason to know, in this case, that their dogs were a threat to the community and didn't take appropriate actions," he said.

Blommel said the nature of a call about an animal will determine who responds to the complaint.

"If it's an aggressive dog that's chasing people, the police will be sent," Blommel said. "But if it's just dogs barking, dogs running up and down the street, it can go either way. Some people call the Animal Resource Center, some call dispatch. Some they send to them (the center) and some they send to us (police)."

More charges for Ohio suspect in Charlottesville attack

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 6:11 PM
Updated: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 7:30 PM

James Alex Fields Jr.
James Alex Fields Jr.

Five more felony charges were filed today against James Alex Fields Jr., the suspect in the Charlottesville car-ramming that killed one and injured more than 30.

The Charlottesville Police Department said the new charges include three counts of aggravated malicious wounding and two counts of malicious wounding, CBS affiliate newsplex.com reported.

The additional charges are related to victims who suffered serious, and potentially permanently incapacitating injuries after a car allegedly driven by Fields plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters Aug. 12 at a white supremacist rally.

RELATED: Who is James Alex Fields Jr., suspect in deadly Charlottesville attack?

Fields already was charged with murder for the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer of Charlottesville and three counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit-and-run. 

Of those injured, 19 required hospitalization. All but three have been released and those three are listed in good condition, newsplex.com reported.

Police said the investigation is continuing and that more charges likely will follow.

Earlier this week, the mayor of Maumee, Ohio, released a statement saying Fields has never been a city resident.

RELATED: Ohio man charged in crash into Charlottesville crowd; 3 dead, 35 hurt

While his apartment had a Maumee mailing address it was not in the city. There also were reports Fields moved to that apartment from a different rental property in Maumee, which also is not true, Mayor Richard H. Carr stated on Monday. 

"Our city of Maumee has been linked with our neighbors in Charlottesville, Virginia, for reasons that neither of our communities could have ever expected. We extend our most sincere sympathy to the residents of Charlottesville and to the family of Heather Heyer on their tragic loss,"

Springboro teacher in drug case among ‘most admired and respected’ in district

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 1:02 AM

Amy Panzeca, 48, a fifth-grade teacher at Springboro Community Schools, pleads not guilty to drug-related charges Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, in a Warren County courtroom.
SEAN CUDAHY / STAFF
Amy Panzeca, 48, a fifth-grade teacher at Springboro Community Schools, pleads not guilty to drug-related charges Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, in a Warren County courtroom.(SEAN CUDAHY / STAFF)

Amy Panzeca’s personnel file paints a picture of an exemplary and dedicated teacher.

Nothing foretells her arrest this week on drug charges nor the letter sent Wednesday from her employer, Springboro Community Schools. It stated:

"Effective immediately and until further notice, you are hereby placed on paid administrative leave pending the resolution of your pending legal circumstances."

Her base salary was $72,623 in 2016, according to the Dayton Daily News I-Team's Payroll Project.

RELATED: Police build drug case against Springboro teacher and son by stopping cars in Settlers Walk

Panzeca, 48, and her 15-year-old son were arrested Monday night, and both were in court Tuesday. Panzeca pleaded not guilty to felony permitting drug use and misdemeanor charges of endangering children and contributing to the unruliness of a minor. 

Court documents allege Panzeca allowed the sale and use of drugs, including LSD and marijuana, in her Christman Drive home in Springboro's Settlers Walk neighborhood. 

"She was aware that drug trafficking was going on and was aware that drug use was going on and was aware of that fact for several months," Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said of Panzeca and her son. "This juvenile was trafficking LSD to somewhere between 20 and 30 students, most of whom attended Springboro High School." 

RELATED: Teacher’s home on Christman Drive raided by drug task force

A year before her home was raided in May by a Warren County drug task force, Panzeca received a much different letter from the district. The April 2016 letter was to inform her of a nomination for the prestigious EPIC (Engage, Prepare, Inspire and Challenge) Teaching Award. Nominations come from parents, staff, alumni and community members. Although Panzeca did not receive the award, the letter included in her personnel file stated the nomination "places you among the most admired and respected educators in our district." 

Panzeca first joined the district at Clearcreek Elementary School for the 1994-95 academic year, when she was known by her maiden name Amy Arnold. 

RELATED: Teachers in trouble: 5 times allegations levied at area teachers

Throughout her 23-year career at Springboro Schools, she taught fifth, sixth and eighth grades. She spent the most number of years teaching fifth-graders, most recently at Five Points Elementary School. 

Evaluations showed Panzeca was a highly competent teacher; she had a good rapport with her students; and she planned engaging lessons for her classroom. In July 2003, she earned a permanent teaching license for first through eighth grades by the Ohio Department of Education. 

At different points in her career, Panzeca served as the head junior high cheerleading coach; vice president of the teachers union, Springboro Education Association; and as a mentor teacher. 

>> Warren County Jail mugs

Before she was offered a full-time position at Springboro Schools, the Miami University graduate worked as a substitutue teacher for Springboro Schools and several Butler County school districts, including Fairfield City, Lakota Local and Ross Local schools, according to Panzeca's employment application. 

Springboro school officials said a permanent substitue would take over Panzeca's classroom duties for this academic year, and that parents of affected students were to be notified. 

Panzeca is scheduled to appear Aug. 31 in court.

DA: Mom didn’t report molestation due to 'hectic' schedule

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 2:54 PM

Damylo Morrow was convicted on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, of sexual battery and acquitted of child molestation after a three-day trial.
Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office
Damylo Morrow was convicted on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, of sexual battery and acquitted of child molestation after a three-day trial.(Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office)

A Georgia mother didn’t tell police that her boyfriend sexually abused her 6-year-old daughter because of her “hectic work schedule,” the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office said.

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The boyfriend, Damylo Morrow, was convicted Thursday of sexual battery and acquitted of child molestation after a three-day trial.

The mother pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree cruelty to children for failing to report the abuse and telling the child to lie about it, the District Attorney’s Office said. She was sentenced to eight years’ probation under the First Offender Act and cannot have unsupervised contact with the child for the duration of her probation.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is withholding the identity of mother in this case in order to protect the identity of the child, who is a victim of sexual abuse.

The child’s grandmother brought her to Scottish Rite Hospital in April 2015 and told staff that the girl had been molested on Dec. 31, 2014. The grandmother was aware of the incident shortly after it happened but did not tell police because Morrow was already in jail on an unrelated charge, according to a release from the District Attorney’s Office.

The AJC is also withholding the identity of the grandmother in this case in order to protect the identity of the child.

Morrow massaged the child’s legs and removed her pants before touching her genitals, the child told a Gwinnett County Department of Family and Children Services worker at the hospital.

The child’s mother told a detective she was aware of the allegations in December of that year but didn’t report them because “she had a hectic work schedule” and Morrow denied touching her child, the release said.

When the child and her mother later went to Norcross Police Department headquarters for an interview with a detective, they were placed in an interview room to wait. While in the interview room, the mother told the child to say that Morrow never touched her, the release said.

During the interview, the child initially denied that Morrow had touched her but later told the detective that Morrow had touched her genitals, the release said.

Morrow was sentenced to three years in prison and two years of probation. Upon release, he must register as a sex offender.

21-month-old Dayton girl died in accident, relative says

Published: Tuesday, August 08, 2017 @ 1:19 PM
Updated: Tuesday, August 08, 2017 @ 7:52 PM

21-month-old Dayton girl died in accident, relative says

The 21-month-old Dayton girl who died Monday after being taken from a house with ‘deplorable’ conditions and 16 dead animals was the victim of an accident, a relative said Tuesday.

Arez Marie Isabella Schrodi died a day after being taken from a home on South Torrence Street. Police did not describe the nature of the toddler’s injuries. She was unresponsive and not breathing.

“All I can tell you is what I was informed per the investigation,” said Rachel Souza, who identified herself as the girl’s grandmother. “It was an accident.”

RELATED: Toddler taken from ‘deplorable’ home dies

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said the cause and manner of death for Arez is listed as pending, and that won’t change until toxicology results and other testing is complete. The girl’s autopsy was completed Tuesday.

“Today the heavens received a beautiful angel that was taken (too) soon,” the page reads. “Arez was a wonderful baby full of smile, cuddles and laughs. She loved playing with her baby sister and big brother.

“Sadly she was taken away by a tragic accident, and the family needs help to put this beautiful baby to rest; anything you can do is (appreciated).”

RELATED: Other children at the home put into protective services

“She was a very happy child,” Souza told this news organization.

Souza didn’t want to elaborate on details and didn’t know why there were dead animals in the house.

Dayton police didn’t say what kind of injuries Arez suffered, but investigators did not think the 15 dead snakes and one dead cat at the residence had anything to do with her death. A living snake, rabbit and dog also were taken from the house.

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Officials said the dead snakes were contained, not loose in the home. Most were pythons with a couple possibly being corn snakes. The Animal Resource Center hasn’t decided on whether to bring charges. ARC has the dog, a shar pei mix and the Human Society has the rabbit. The snake, a 4.5-foot boa constrictor, has been placed in foster care after a veterinarian check.

A Facebook page matching the name of Arez’s mother includes pictures of snakes and posts that say the mother “likes snakes.”

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A Montgomery County Children Services spokesman said a case was opened following the girl’s death involving her aunt and her mother.

A Dayton police report indicated at least four adults were in the home along with other children. Four children were taken into protective custody, officials said.

Montgomery County Animal Control Director Mark Kumpf said, “The conditions inside weren’t fit for people or pets.”