Wednesday, June 16, 1999

Two kids taken from dead boy's home

Plastic bag may have killed baby

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — The death of a 6-month-old Hamilton boy under unusual circumstances has led authorities to remove his siblings from the household while police investigate.

        Paramedics Saturday found George W. Bowling III dead on the floor of his Ross Avenue home, and police took away two other children because “they found that the home was unsafe and had unsanitary living conditions,” said Robert G. Clevenger Jr., director of Butler County Juvenile Court.

        Although the coroner had not ruled as of Tuesday, authorities said they think the child might have suffocated.

        “The child somehow had gotten a plastic bag over its head,” Dave Stuckenberg, assistant director of the county Children Services Board (CSB), said Tuesday. Mr. Stuckenberg said the children's mother, Lori Johnson, told authorities the baby must have rolled off the couch and become entangled in the bag, which another child had apparently left on the floor.

        Hamilton police spokesman Sgt. Tom Kilgour on Tuesday said CSB was working with detectives, but he had no information to release until a coroner's report and forensic tests on evidence were ready.

        At CSB's request, a judge Monday granted temporary custody of the two other children, ages 2 and 4, to their paternal grandparents. That arrangement was ordered to continue Tuesday, after Ms. Johnson told officials she didn't want to participate in a hearing, Mr. Clevenger said.

        Ms. Johnson could not be located for comment Tuesday.

        Children Services had been involved with the family since April, Mr. Stuckenberg said.


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