Dayton Daily News Library

Death in the Moreland family


Police cordon off the Moreland home at 633 Homewood Ave. after Phillip Moreland was found dead inside. His was the fourth death at the house in four months.

  When two children died within three days at th home of Phillip and Regina Moreland, 633 Homewood Ave., police were suspicious but found no evidence of foul play. After a third child died six weeks later the deaths were ruled homicide, but no suspect was identified.
  Authorities removed four other children from the Moreland home and the couple mounted a legal battle to get them back. But on March 6, 1998 -- eight weeks after the first death -- Phillip Moreland was found dead in the home. His death was ruled a suicide.
  And on June 25, 1998 a fourth child died at a house in Trotwood where Regina Moreland had moved.
  After the fourth child died a suspect emerged, but police would not said who it was. But family members said police told them the suspect is a child in the Moreland household.
  The story of the Moreland family was told in depth in an Aug. 2, 1998 Dayton Daily News story by reporters Charlise Lyles, Wendy Hundley, Lou Grieco and Rob Modic.


Regina Moreland

Phillip Moreland

Those who died

  The Morelands' granddaughter, DaJainae Phillips, 1, who lived at the house, died Nov. 10. Three days later, a Moreland great niece, Alexis Marshall, 2, of1333 Wisconsin Blvd., died after she'd been sleeping at the house.
  Another granddaughter, Danatta Moreland, 3, of 5036 Northcrest Drive, died there under similarcircumstances Dec. 24.
  On March 6, 1998, Phillip Moreland, 42, was found dead at 633 Homewood,where he had apparently spent the night alone.
  Phillip Moreland's daughter, Jamila Moreland, 19, who was also the mother of homicide victim DaJainae Phillips, died in a Jefferson Twp. auto accident on March 15, nine days after her father's suicide.
  On June 25, 1998, Kelab Moreland, 2, was found not breathing at the Trotwood home of his grandmother, Regina Moreland, and was pronounced dead at the hospital about an hour later.

A child suspect:

  Although no charges were filed, police and social workers said they suspected the toddlers were

Case chronology

11-10-1997: DaJainae Phillips, 1, died at Children's Medical Center.She lived at 633 Homewood Ave. with her grandparents, Phillip and ReginaMoreland.
11-13-1997: DaJainae's cousin, Alexis Marshall, 2, was found notbreathing after a family gathering at 633 Homewood Ave. Alexis, who livedat 1333 Wisconsin Blvd., was pronounced dead at Grandview Hospital andMedical Center.
12-24-1997: Danatta Moreland, 3, was found not breathing at 633Homewood. Danatta, who lived at 5036 Northcrest Drive, was pronounceddead at Grandview. Four other Moreland children aged 6 to 11 were removedfrom the home and placed in foster care.
1-20-1998: Maternal grandmother Cecile O. Marshall was grantedtemporary custody of the Moreland children.
2-18-1998: Montgomery County Coroner James H. Davis said the threeyoung girls who died were asphyxiated or suffocated, and rules theirdeaths homicides.
3-4-1998: Phillip and Regina Moreland won the right to unrestrictedvisits with their children.
3-6-1998: Phillip Moreland, 42, was found dead at 633 Homewood,where he had apparently spent the night alone.
3-11-1998: Coroner Davis ruled Phillip Moreland committed suicidewith an overdose of his wife's antidepressant pills.
3-15-1998: Phillip Moreland's daughter, Jamila Moreland, 19, who wasalso the mother of homicide victim DaJainae Phillips, died in a JeffersonTwp. auto accident.
6-26-1998: Kelab Moreland, 2, was found not breathing at the Trotwood home of his grandmother, Regina Moreland, and was pronounced dead at the hospital about an hour later.
6-26-1998: Authorities again placed Regina Moreland's four young children in foster care.
6-29-1998: A judge ordered that the children remain in foster care for at least 10 days while officials gather more information about the death of Kelab Moreland.
7-8-1998: A judge ordered that the children stay in foster care, granted supervised visitation with their mother and grandmother, and scheduled an Aug. 3 hearing.
11-23-1998: Judge Murphy allowed Regina Moreland to be with her four children over Thanksgiving.
11-25-1998: Police and prosecutors met to discuss the evidence.
12-2-1998: Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias Heck met with police and forensic investigators and said "additional investigation is necessary."
2-24-1999: Judge Murphy ordered four surviving Moreland children returned "as soon as possible" from foster care to their mother's custody, pursuant to an agreement between the Moreland family, the prosecutor's office and Children Services.
3-4-1999: The agreement unraveled when officials balked. Murphy scheduled a new custody hearing.
3-23-1999: At custody hearing, Regina Moreland defended a young member of her household suspected of killing the four children, saying she wouldn't believe the youngster capable of murder "unless you give me some evidence."
3-25-1999: A mental health worker testified that the child suspected in the deaths admitted she sometimes held her hand over babies' mouths to stop them from crying.
3-30-1999: Cecile Marshall testified she saw no danger in returning the children to Regina Moreland's home. "(Regina) loves her children," Marshall said.
4-1-1999: Shirley Landis, a court-appointed advocate for the four Moreland children, testified they should be returned to Regina Moreland's home, provided there is "protective supervision."4-29-1999: Judge Murphy ordered the Moreland children returned to the family's custody.

Selected Dayton Daily News stories:

DAYTON
DEATH SPARKS PROBE
* A third child dies in the same house on Homewood Avenue within7 weeks
Published: Thursday, December 25, 1997 Page: 1A
By Lou Grieco DAYTON DAILY NEWS

CRIME
3 TODDLERS' DEATHS RULED HOMICIDES
* All died in the same Homewood Ave. house within a few weeks.
Published: Thursday, February 19, 1998
Page: 1A
By Wendy Hundley DAYTON DAILY NEWS

DEATHS SLOW TO ALARM
In 1 home, in 6 weeks, 3 kids die
Published: Friday, February 20, 1998 Page: 1A
By Wendy Hundley Dayton Daily News

INVESTIGATION
OFFICIALS SEEK CAUSE OF UNEXPECTEDDEATH
* Phillip Moreland was only 42, but three children died in hishousehold last year.
Published: Saturday, March 7, 1998 Page: 1A
By Janice Morse and Wendy Hundley DAYTON DAILY NEWS

MORELAND'S DEATH SUICIDE
He took pills, coroner says
Published: Thursday, March 12, 1998 Page: 1B
By Lou Grieco Dayton Daily News

DAYTON
MORELAND KIN GRIEVES AGAIN
* The family that lost 3 children and an adult to death withinmonths loses another in a crash.
Published: Monday, March 16, 1998 Page: 1A
By Wendy Hundley DAYTON DAILY NEWS

TROTWOOD
FAMILY HIT BY DEATH YET AGAIN
By Lou Grieco and Wendy Hundley Dayton Daily News
Published: Friday, June 26, 1998

CORONER: CHILD KILLED
Police have suspect in 4 deaths
By Lou Grieco Dayton Daily News
Published: Thursday, July 16, 1998

HOMICIDES
CHILD FACES TESTS
* The investigation into the deaths of four children focuses on a family member.
By Lou Grieco Dayton Daily News
Published: Tuesday, July 21, 1998

THE MORELAND CASE
CHAOS, DEATH AND SUSPICION
By Charlise Lyles, Wendy Hundley, Lou Grieco and Rob Modic DAYTON DAILY NEWS
Published: Sunday, August 2, 1998

MORELAND CASE
COURT TOLD GIRL SUSPECT IN DEATHS
* She held her hand over babies' mouths to keep them from crying, the girl told a mental health worker.
By Wendy Hundley and Tom Beyerlein Dayton Daily News
Published: 03/26/99 -- Page: 1A

MORELAND KIDS RETURNED
Judge finds no reason for removal
By Rob Modic Dayton Daily News
Published: 04/30/99 -- Page: 1A

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File Created: 3-7-1998
Updated: 7-1-1998
Prepared by: Dayton Daily News Library staff
Sources: DDN reports