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Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 10:25 AM
Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 2:56 PM
BUTLER COUNTY — A 17-year-old Ross High School student has admitted guilt in connection with the fatal shooting of a fellow student in January.
The teen entered a true plea to felony theft on Monday in Butler County Juvenile Court. According to court documents, the teen removed his father’s .38-caliber handgun from his father’s bedroom and passed it to another subject.
Last week, the case of Zachary Welsh, 17, of Ross Twp., who is charged with murder, aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence for allegedly fatally shooting Austin Hensley on the evening of Jan. 30 at a residence on Hine Road, was sent to adult court for trial.
Butler County Sheriff’s detectives say Hensley was shot with a .38 caliber handgun.
Officials say Hensley’s death was the result of a robbery gone bad. He died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office.
“(The shooting suspect) lured (the victim) to the house, they were gonna trade guns, supposedly,” Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said. “In the process, the (shooting suspect) had all intentions of robbing (the victim) that he lured into the house through social media.
“It appears a scuffle took place and then an attempted robbery, and the victim was shot and killed.”
Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 8:26 PM
Updated: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 11:30 PM
MONROE — A vigilant motorist helped authorities find a 4-year-old boy who was abducted hours earlier from his home in Sandusky and was the subject of a statewide Amber Alert.
Police there said Jennifer Hemcheck forcibly removed Q’Dai Hemcheck from a vehicle and sped away with him in a white 2015 Hyundai Sonata with Florida license plates.
Shortly after a statewide Amber Alert was issued tonight that described the vehicle, plate number and provided photos of the Hemchecks to mobile phones, a 911 caller reported spotting a car that matched the description.
An Ohio Amber Alert has been cancelled 3/16/18 8:28 PM. See https://t.co/Y3b0LEX9cl for details.— Ohio Amber Alerts (@ohioamberalert) March 17, 2018
“If it wasn’t for the fact that the caller, regular citizen with a cellphone, called in, we probably wouldn’t have been able to locate that car, if not as quick or at all, if we hadn’t had that help from that citizen,” Sgt. Tom Bloomberg of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Lebanon Post said.
Jennifer Hemcheck was arrested after she was found at 8:30 p.m. riding in the car on southbound Interstate 75 in Monroe in Warren County. Another woman was driving the car, and she, too, was arrested.
Jennifer Hemcheck’s 12-year-old daughter also was in the car and was taken to the Lebanon Post to be reunited with her father, troopers said.
As for D’Quai, he has been taken to Erie County Children Services and his father has been notified, according to the highway patrol.
An Amber Alert is in effect across Ohio after a 4-year-old boy was abducted Friday afternoon in Sandusky.
D’Quai Hemchak was “forcibly removed from a vehicle by Jennifer Ann Hemchack, a non-custodial parent.” The suspect then sped away in her car heading east, and the young boy is believed to be in “imminent danger.”
They are believed to be riding in a white 2015 Hyundai Sonata with Florida license plate IWU-M23 and police say she could be headed to Florida.
D’Qai is described as 3 feet tall, weighing 30 to 35 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.
Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 4:42 PM
WARREN COUNTY — Defense attorneys for Brooke Richardson, a Carlisle teen accused of killing her baby and then burying it in the backyard, want the jury to view two locations during trial.
Brooke Skylar Richardson, 18, is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangering for the May 2017 death of her infant daughter, whom defense attorneys say she named Annabelle.
Attorneys Charles H. and Charles M. Rittgers filed a motion Thursday afternoon requesting the jury view the Richardson home at 104 Eagle Ridge Drive and the Carlisle Police interrogation room.
Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda II had not ruled on the motion as of 4 p.m. today.
Richardson’s trial is scheduled to begin April 16. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for April 9.
On March 5, the defense team filed a motion to exclude Richardson’s comments at the Carlisle Police Station outside the presence of officers.
After a 60-minute meeting in chambers with attorneys on Wednesday, Oda said the defense intended to withdraw its motion to suppress those statements.
Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 5:44 PM
— TROY - A Miami County judge Friday, March 16, ordered the transfer of Randy Freels, who is charged with the January murder of his wife, to a behavioral health center for treatment and stabilization.
The transfer at the request of county prosecutors on behalf of the Sheriff's Department was approved by Judge William McGregor Dixon Jr. of the county Common Pleas Court Juvenile and Probate Division.
Assistant Prosecutor Paul Watkins wrote in a motion filed Friday afternoon that Freels' "current condition and security risk is beyond that which can be managed within the Miami County Jail."
The sheriff's office with assistance of the Northern Ohio Psychiatric Hospital determined that it would be in Freels' best interest to be transferred, Watkins wrote.
Dixon ordered the transfer to the recommended Twin Valley Behavioral Health Care-Morita. Once Freels is stabilized he will be returned to the jail, according to the order. Sheriff Dave Duchak was not available to comment late Friday.
Freels, 57, of Union Twp. faces charges of murder, tampering with evidence, improper discharge of a firearm and felonious assault and three firearm specifications in the Jan. 12 shooting of Samantha Freels, 52. He has pleaded not guilty.
Samantha Freels’ body was found in her car, which had gone off Ohio 55 near West Milton during an afternoon snow storm. Investigators initially thought the death could be from a weather-related accident until a fresh bullet hole was found in the car.
Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 4:26 PM
Local law enforcement officers are getting much needed manpower and training support from the federal government in the fight against the fentanyl pipeline from China and Mexico.
Homeland Security Investigations special agents who work under U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have trained more than 300 law enforcement personnel in Ohio this week on the dark web, virtual currency and how financial transactions take place that facilitate the smuggling of fentanyl into the United States.
More than 560 people died from accidental overdoses in Montgomery County last year and fentanyl, often combined with other drugs, was responsible for more than half of those deaths.
“Fentanyl is coming into this country at an alarming rate,” said ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan in a local appearance Friday at the University of Dayton. In 2015, agents encountered fentanyl in drug interdiction cases just eight times. Two years later, they encountered it 410 times, Homan said.
Pharmaceutical fentanyl is similar to morphine, but 50 to 100 times more powerful. And there are new variations of the drug, or fentanyl analogs, being created in labs all the time.
The deadly drugs mostly make their way to Ohio streets via online transactions and shipments that come through the U.S. Postal Service, officials said. China has been the main producer of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, but officials said there is now evidence these drugs are being produced in Mexico as well.
The training for local officers included studying cases where there has been successful prosecution of sellers on the dark web.
“We want to play the away game and keep these drugs from reaching our borders,” Homan said. He announced Friday that two HSI special agents will soon be stationed in Dayton and dedicating their resources to stopping the flow of illicit drugs into the area.
The agents will work hand-in-hand with local law enforcement task forces that are tracking and busting international drug smuggling rings whose products end up on local streets.
“Stopping it at the internet level is going to have to be one of the main focuses,” said Montgomery County Sheriff Chief Deputy Rob Streck. Once the product gets shipped, it becomes much harder to intercept it in the millions of packages processed by the postal service.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he’s pushing for the postal service to upgrade its advanced data technology to make it harder to ship illegal drugs.
“We just spent the last year in a deep investigation into this issue,” Portman said. Federal investigators found that those pushing fentanyl online would always request the drugs be shipped via the postal service because of the lack of advanced data tracking and that they be paid for with cryptocurrency. They also gave huge discounts if buyers purchased in bulk.
“We know how it’s happening,” Portman said.
Streck called the dark web lessons local officers are learning a “must-have investigative skill. Law enforcement has gotten behind,” he said.
Nationally, about 800 officers have received the training and HSI hopes to train another 1,500 by the end of the year.