Ohio man guilty of corpse abuse in case of infant dead in crib

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

June 8 (Reuters) - An Ohio man whose infant daughter was discovered dead in a crib by a cable television installer was found guilty on Wednesday of abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

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Medina County Judge Christopher Collier also found Eric Warfel guilty of possession of cocaine and child endangering, county prosecutor Dean Holman and Collier's bailiff Terry George said.

Collier revoked Warfel's bond and ordered him held in jail, George said. His sentencing was scheduled for July 7 in Medina County Common Pleas Court.

Warfel faces a maximum six years in prison. His lawyer Michael O'Shea said planned to appeal the verdict.

The body of Ember Warfel was found last July in a crib surrounded by bags of trash in an apartment in Medina, about 32 miles (52 km) south of Cleveland.

Records showed that her body was so badly decomposed that the medical examiner was unable to determine a cause of death.

Officials said the child, born in October 2013, had been dead for at least a month.

"We're pleased with the verdict. The case presented complex legal issues," Holman said. He declined to elaborate, citing the upcoming sentencing.

Warfel, who went on trial last month, had waived his right to a jury trial and opted for a bench trial in which a judge decides the verdict.

In August he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but Collier ruled that he was competent to stand trial after a psychiatric evaluation.

Police had found Warfel living in a motel with another daughter, who was 7 years old at the time.

According to records, a domestic court judge had given Warfel custody of Ember Warfel in part because of drug problems of the child's mother. Warfel had another child who died at five months old. The cause of death was ruled undetermined by a local medical examiner.

Police investigated the five-month old's death and no charges were filed. (Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales)