The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

February 11, 2014

Man waives hearing on charge linked to death of 4-year-old

Victim may have been sexually assaulted

CONNEAUT — Police in Conneaut say evidence analysis and autopsy results will be crucial in their investigation into last week’s suspicious death of a 4-year-old city girl.

Meanwhile, the man put in charge of Melanie Powell’s care on the day she suffered severe head injury was bound over to the Ashtabula County grand jury during a hearing Monday morning in Conneaut Municipal Court. Joshua Million, 25, 243 E. Main Road (downstairs), waived his right to a preliminary hearing before Judge Thomas Harris. Million appeared via a video hookup from city jail and was accompanied by public defender Dean Topalof.

Million answered Harris’ questions with a “yes, sir” or “no, sir” in a hearing that lasted barely two minutes.

He is being held without bond on a misdemeanor probation revocation violation stemming from a 2013 traffic charge. At the time, Million was given probation on the charge only if several conditions were met, including he stay out of trouble for five years.

Meanwhile, police are awaiting the results of an autopsy conducted Satur-day by the Cuyahoga County medical examiner’s office in Cleveland.

Tests results could mean additional charges against Million filed by either the city or the county grand jury.

Harris warned Million that more charges are possible.

“The grand jury can indict on more serious charges,” Harris said. “They have that right.”

The child was brought to the UH Conneaut Medical Center’s emergency room by her mother, Macie Powell, shortly before midnight Thurs-day. The girl had suffered head trauma and was flown by helicopter to a Cleveland hospital, where she died the following morning.

A preliminary report on the cause and manner of death had not been prepared by Monday afternoon, said Christopher Harris, spokesman for the medical examiner’s office.

An affidavit local police filed with the court to obtain a search warrant contains additional details regarding the case, including possible evidence of a sexual assault.

Bruising was found on the body that may be indicative of that type of injury, according to the document.

Police were summoned to the hospital by staff a few minutes before midnight, shortly after the child’s mother brought her to the emergency room. The girl had suffered “severe trauma with a possible fracture to the forehead,” according to the affidavit.

Macie Powell told police the girl was left in the care of Million, identified as her live-in boyfriend, after he dropped Powell off at work around 2:40 p.m.

He was supposed to drop the child off at her grandmother’s house at 4:45 p.m., but never showed.

Instead, the grandmother received a text message around that time from Million stating he would be taking the girl to a basketball game.

When Million picked up Powell at her job around 11 p.m., the girl was in a safety seat in the rear of the vehicle “and appeared to be sleeping,” according to the affidavit.

Back at their East Main Road home, Powell noticed her daughter was “limp and unresponsive” and discovered the head injury. When she asked Million what happened, he replied “nothing.”

Powell changed the child’s clothing and took her to the hospital, police said in the document. Million, who is not the child’s father, remained at the house.

Burlingham said Million told police he placed the child in a bathtub then fell asleep at a kitchen table. When he awoke, the child was unconscious, Million told investigators.

Armed with the search warrant, police removed an array of items from the house, with emphasis on clothing and jewelry belonging to Million, according to the affidavit.

A funeral for the child will be 10 a.m. Friday at St. Frances Cabrini Church in Conneaut.

Burial will follow. Calling hours are 4-7 p.m. Thursday at Raisian Family Funeral Home, 581 Harbor St., Conneaut.

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