The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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February 14, 2014

Death of 4-year-old Conneaut girl is ruled a homicide

Joshua Million is being held without bond

CONNEAUT — The death of 4-year-old Melanie Powell has been ruled a homicide, according to a statement from the Cuyahoga County medical examiner’s office.

Cause of death was “blunt impact injuries of (the) head,” while the manner of death a homicide, the statement said. The ruling will not change the way the Conneaut Police Department investigates the death, Police Chief Charles Burlingham said Thursday.

Detectives are awaiting results from evidence submitted for analysis, Burlingham said. There’s no timeframe for delivery of the reports, he said.

Legally, homicide is generally defined as death that occurs at the hands of another, although homicide is not always a criminal act — as witness the occasional ruling of justifiable homicide in some cases.

The child died one week ago at the Cleveland hospital, police said. She was brought to UH Conneaut Medical Center by her mother late on the evening of Feb. 6, officers said. She suffered severe head trauma, as well as bruising, which could be indicative of sexual assault, police said.

Joshua Million, 25, 243 E. Main Road (downstairs), has been bound over to the Ashtabula County grand jury on a charge of felony child endangering. Million was in charge of the child’s care she reportedly suffered her injuries, officers have said.

The girl’s mother, described by police as Million’s girlfriend, discovered the injuries shortly after returning home from work late on the evening of Feb. 6. When asked what had happened, Million said “nothing,” police said. Officers were contacted by hospital staff.

Million is being held without bond while he awaits a probation revocation hearing. Million was given probation on a 2013 traffic charge on the condition he stay out of trouble, officials have said. Prosecutors contend the child endangering charge violated the terms of probation.

He is being held in protective custody at the Ashtabula County jail, said Detective Lt. Terry Moisio of the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office. While Million hasn’t been charged in the child’s death, the sheriff’s office is keeping him a distance from other inmates who may be upset by the case.

“We’re taking precautions to separate (Million) from the general inmate population,” Moisio said.

A candlelight vigil in memory of the child early Wednesday night drew more than 200 people to downtown Conneaut.

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