Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More info on custodial dad whose sons died in fire (Greenfield, Ohio)

UPDATE: It appears the mother had recently lost her home and fallen on "hard times." That's why the children were in the custody of their father. It also appears that the mother was lied to about the mysterious first fire that was two weeks ago. See excerpt below:


Autopsies will be performed by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, and the boys' mother hopes investigators can learn what happened.
"I just want the truth to come out. They had a fire two weeks ago and they thought it was electrical and it wasn't. It was unknown," said a tearful Felisha Coonrod.
She had fallen on hard times recently and lost her home, so she took the children to her ex-husband's home to stay.

Various commenters to some of the articles now coming out on this fire have said that dad WESLEY COONROD did in fact have custody of his two sons (ages 3 and 4). However, the media HAS YET to acknowledge it beyond a little hinting along the lines that the mother didn't live at the residence. We reported that here:


Why the reticence?

By all witness accounts, this father was thoroughly intoxicated at the scene of the fire, and had little to no interest in saving his children. Also note the interesting "coincidence" here: Dad had just moved into this house TWO DAYS BEFORE after ANOTHER FIRE had damaged his previous residence. Spot of bad luck there? Or is this arson?

Also note dad's prior arrest record: Domestic violence, aggravated menacing, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and NUMEROUS OVI and DUI arrests.


Father Given $1M Bond After Young Sons Die In Fire

GREENFIELD, Ohio —Two young boys died in a house fire early Sunday, and the boys’ father is behind bars on child-endangerment charges while the Division of State Fire Marshal continues to investigate.

The fatal fire started early Sunday morning at a one-story duplex on Lafayette Street in the town of Greenfield in Highland County.

The unit was fully engulfed when fire crews arrived at 150 A Lafayette St.at about 12:30 a.m.

Four-year-old Thomas Coonrod and 3-year-old Stephen Coonrod were killed in the house fire, according to authorities.

Firefighters pulled the children from the house fire, and police rushed the children to a local hospital where they were pronounced dead.

Sunday was Thomas’ fourth birthday.

Preliminary reports indicated both children died of smoke inhalation, according to the Greenfield police chief.

Investigators are awaiting additional information from the Montgomery County coroner’s office where autopsies will be performed.

Wesley Coonrod, the boys’ father, remains in the Highland County jail Monday and is facing two felony counts of child endangerment.

Coonrod was arrested late Sunday because authorities said he was intoxicated and unfit to care for children when fire crews arrived on the scene of the fire, according to the Greenfield police chief.

Neighbor Jason Jenkins told NBC 4 he tried to save the children.

“I ran around back, and the father was standing out back in his underwear,“ he said. “I asked him where the kids was, and he told me he didn’t know. So I kicked the door in and tried to go in. The smoke was too bad,“ Jenkins said.

Another eyewitness called Wesley’s demeanor shocking.

“He did not care because he was drinking
…“ the eyewitness said.

No other injuries were reported to investigators.

Division of State Fire Marshal investigators continue to investigate the fire and its cause. As it is an ongoing investigation, specific details will not be released, according to the Division of State Fire Marshal.

Investigators submitted evidence from the fire scene to the Division of State Fire Marshal’s forensic laboratory for analysis. Results will be made available to investigators within 10 days. Specific details about what evidence was submitted to the lab will not be released.

Investigators were continuing interviews Monday. The on-scene investigation concluded.

The use of smoke detectors remained undetermined.

Wesley, 43, apparently moved into the home two days ago after a separate fire damaged his home in February.

Wesley was arraigned Monday morning and given a $1 million bond. He currently remains jailed.
“I ain’t got nothing to live for anyhow. I lost everything I owned, everything I loved,“ Wesley said during his arraignment Monday.

Howard Coonrod told NBC 4 his brother, Wesley, was a good father.

“He wasn’t the type of dad to put them kids in that situation. He tried to get back in there to get the kids out,“ Howard said.

“I ain’t guilty of nothing except trying to get those kids out of the house,“ Wesley said during his arraignment Monday.

Wesley will be allowed to attend his sons’ burials under guard.

Wesley has a prior arrest record according to authorities, including domestic violence, aggravated menacing, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and numerous criminal damaging and OVI and DUI arrests.

The fire investigation was being conducted by the Division of State Fire Marshal, the Greenfield police and the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District.

Additional information was not available immediately.