Child deaths
The Carroll Family of Cedarville

  In late1992 Kathleen and Timothy Carroll came under investigation after one of their 10 adopted children died from burns caused by household bleach. Public scrutiny became even more intense when three more Carroll children died within a span of a few months.
  The Carrolls and their eldest son, James, faced criminal charges in the first death. The parents pleaded guilty to child neglect in January 1993. That November James, then 17, was tried and acquitted of delinquency by reason of involuntary manslaughter.

DDN photo by Laura Shagory
Timothy and Kathleen Carroll shown in this 1992 photo with daughter Mollie, who died later that year.

  Timothy and Kathleen Carroll married in 1981 and lived in Massachusetts until moving to Madison Twp. in 1990 and then to Cedarville in 1992.
  Timothy Carroll had suffered an infection that paralyzed him at age 16, and made him unable to father children of his own. Even before they were married, they decided they wanted to adopt. They started with their first foster child in 1984 and by 1992 had 10 children placed with them.
   Members of Ascension Life Center in West Alexandria, they sought to do God's work by adopting special-needs children, whom they taught at home.

  

  

  

CHRONOLOGY

Sept. 21, 1992, the first death: Hannah, 6, a Down syndrome child, dies. Parents say she was "doing fine"after household bleach was spilled on her three days earlier, but evidence showed the child suffered horribly, with chemical burns inside her lungs and over nearly one-third of her body. Until this incident, Greene County Children Services is unaware of the family, which had 10 adopted children, all with physical, mental or emotional problems. Originally from Massachusetts, they moved to Madison Twp. in 1990, and then to Cedarville two months before Hannah died. The agency's attempt to get emergency custody of the remaining children is denied.

October-December 1992, three more deaths: A 1-month-old child, Chloe, who was born with only a brain stem and no brain, dies Oct. 19 in the care of the Columbus adoption agency that had placed her with the Carrolls. On Nov. 15, Noah, 3, a "crack"baby who suffered brain damage and seizures, dies. Officials express extreme concern after Mollie, a 3-year-old with mental retardation and severe allergies, appears to have been dead for 12 hours before she was found

Dec. 9, 1992, court action: County Juvenile Judge Robert A. Hagler removes the remaining children from the home, but returns them two days before Christmas.


Hannah
January 1993, a guilty plea: Kathleen and Timothy Carroll, originally charged with involuntary manslaughter, plead guilty to child neglect charges in Hannah's death, admitting they should have sought medical treatment for her burns. They are placed on five years' probation and they agree to adopt no more children without prior court consent.

June 1993, the fifth death: After several months of little activity in the case, Josiah, a 12-year-old with cerebral palsy, dies. Again, officials become alarmed and ask for removal of the remaining children, but the request is denied.

July 1993, the inquest: The county's first inquest in a decade produces inconsistencies between experts' testimony and family members' stories about the deaths, and Judge Hagler removes himself from the case, citing innuendos about his objectivity.

August 1993, the charge and the removal: The family's eldest son, James, then 17, is charged with delinquency by reason of involuntary manslaughter because he was supervising Hannah at the time of the injury that caused her death. The new judge in the case, Richard T. Cole, orders Samuel, then 5, and Isaiah, then 11, removed from the Carroll home and placed in foster care.

October 1993, the exhumations: Despite the Carrolls' protests, the bodies of Mollie and Josiah are exhumed from their Preble County graves to allow further investigation of their deaths.

November 1993, the trial: After a three-day trial, Cole acquits James of all charges.The family then spends several days trying to convince Cole to return Samuel and Isaiah to the home.

December 1993, the custody ruling: In a harshly worded decision, Cole tells the Carrolls that their two handicapped children will stay in foster care at least for a while because the Carrolls have no plan to care for them and have refused outside help.

April 1994, the battle resumes: The Carrolls again argue to get their children back, and they also ask that their probation be lifted. They're denied on both counts.

May 1994, home visits begin: Previously visiting Samuel and Isaiah at the Children Services Board's office, the Carrolls are elated to have their children come to their home for visits.

June 1994, a new accusation: Officials file for permanent custody of Samuel and Isaiah and ask that James be kept separate from them. Prosecutors say Isaiah, who cannot speak, implicated James in Josiah's death. After a lengthy custody hearing, Cole rules that home visits can resume as long as James is not present.

November 1994, in court again: Questions linger about the deaths. Meanwhile, officials try to get permanent custody of Samuel and Isaiah, saying that the Carrolls, even after more than a year of working with Children Services, still fail to acknowledge how much care the youngsters need. The Carrolls say, however, that they're determined to demonstrate that the children would do best living with them. A weeklong custody hearing was canceled after attorneys reached an agreement allowing the two boys to spend time with their parents during Christmas and New Year's.

December 1994, Isaiah testifies: Isaiah, now 12, meets with a county grand jury regarding the June 1993 death of Josiah. Authorities said Isaiah, who cannot speak, "communicated" that he witnessed his eldest brother, James, smother Josiah.

February 1995: Isaiah and Samuel begin steadily living with the Carrolls.

May 1995: Children Services officially relinquished custody of Isaiah and Samuel, while maintaining protective supervision over the children.

August 1995: Cole denies the Carrolls' request to have the children home-schooled.

April 1996: Carrolls in court again, arguing that Children Services have no right to continue supervising the situation. They also ask that their probation be terminated; the Ohio 2nd District Court of Appeals is considering an appeal of the home-schooling issue. Cole orders that Children Services continue protective supervision of the family; the situation will be reviewed again in October. A hearing is set for April 26 on the Carrolls' probation.

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File created: 4-29-96
Chronology compiled by Janice Haidet Morse