Archive for June, 2011

Couple accused in child’s scalding are indicted

Posted in News, Parents Behaving Badly, People Behaving Badly, Sad on June 20, 2011 by punauni

DAYTON — The mother of a 3-year-old girl who suffered severe scalding burns and the mother’s boyfriend were both indicted Friday on felony charges.

The grand jury approved four counts of child endangering for Jeremy R. Ely, 27. Two of those charges are second-degree felonies punishable by up to eight years in prison. The other two are third-degree felonious punishable by up to five years.

Christina Allen.jpg

Christina Allen
Jeremy R. Ely.jpg

Jeremy R. Ely

The grand jury approved two counts of complicity to commit child endangering for Christina Allen, 26. Both are third-degree felonies. The grand jury also indicted Allen on a misdemeanor count of child endangering.

The indictment comes one week after the girl’s grandmother alerted police to the child’s wounds. Allen, 26, of 1344 Huffman Ave., and Ely, 27, were arrested the same day and remain in the Montgomery County Jail.

Ely told police the child hurt herself while using a faucet where he told her to wash up from a potty-training accident, police said.

After the grandmother contacted them, Dayton police found the child suffering from severe burns to her hands and marks on her body that appeared to have been inflicted by a belt. The burns were two weeks old at that time, police said.

Allen tried to treat the burns using over- the-counter medication. Allen told police she didn’t take the child to the hospital because she feared Ely would hurt her, Dayton Sgt. Larry Tolpin said.

Ely told police he avoided taking the child to a hospital because he is a registered sex offender and didn’t want children’s services to be notified, Tolpin said.

The child, treated at Children’s Medical Center for second-degree burns, then placed in the custody of Montgomery County Children Services, Tolpin said.


Mother charged with Erie homicide said 14-month-old girl dead for month

Posted in News, Parents Behaving Badly, Sad with tags , on June 20, 2011 by punauni


The mother of a 14-month-old girl found dead in an eastside neighborhood Tuesday told police that her youngest child had been dead for about a month, according to court paperwork filed in the investigation.

Police said Tania R. Coleman, 20, made the revelation to Erie police detectives hours after her daughter, identified in court records as Alayja Coleman, was found stuffed in a suitcase that had been thrown out as trash.

Tania Coleman remained jailed without bond Thursday on charges of criminal homicide, concealing the death of a child, tampering with or fabricating evidence, endangering the welfare of children and abuse of a corpse. She is separated from the general prison population, according to a prison official.

Police also charged Tania Coleman’s boyfriend, Xavier A. Hollamon, 20, with concealing the death of a child, tampering with or fabricating evidence and abuse of a corpse. He remained jailed Thursday on $50,000 bond and is in restricted housing, the prison official said.

Police said Hollamon is the father of Tania Coleman’s two other children, a 3-year-old girl and a 2-year-old girl who are now being cared for by family members. The children lived with Tania Coleman in an upstairs apartment at 729 E. Eighth St., while Hollamon lived with his parents at 454 E. 24th St., according to police.

Hollamon is also the father of a child that Tania Coleman is now carrying, police said.

Investigators have declined to comment in detail on what they believe led to Alayja Coleman’s death. Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook said she likely died of “nutritional neglect.”

Medical examiners were unable to determine during Wednesday’s autopsy if Alayja Coleman had a physical disability, Cook said Thursday. The autopsy also failed to find any obvious signs of trauma on the girl, he said.

Police are still working to obtain the child’s medical records, and they are still interviewing people in relation to the case, Erie Police Chief Steve Franklin said Thursday.

Among those already interviewed, Franklin said, was the father of Alayja Coleman, who is identified in court records as Rahsean A. Murphy.

Murphy declined to comment Thursday.

Investigators have not said how long they believe Alayja Coleman was dead before her body was found in a suitcase by Erie firefighters who responded to the 700 block of East Eighth Street to put out a kitchen fire Tuesday afternoon. Erie County District Attorney Jack Daneri said only that investigators believe the girl was neglected for “a period of time” and was left to die in the residence.

But according to an affidavit of probable cause filed with a search warrant for Tania Coleman’s apartment, she told detectives late Tuesday that Alayja Coleman died in the apartment “approximately one month ago.”

Tania Coleman’s older brother, Jeffrey Coleman, said Thursday that he had seen Alayja Coleman at his sister’s apartment in January and she “looked like a regular, normal baby to me.”

Investigators have also not said when they think the child’s body was put in the suitcase and placed outside. The affidavit filed with the search warrant stated only that, at some point, the suitcase was placed in a new garbage can, along with two white garbage cans. The can was then placed near the curb.

The next day, a male neighbor, whom police did not identify, saw the can sitting empty and its contents spilled onto the ground. The man moved the garbage can into his residence, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit does not include dates when these incidents occurred.

Police obtained the warrant to search Tania Coleman’s apartment for trace evidence including blood, hair and fibers; for paperwork and receipts; for air fresheners, rubber gloves and shovels; and for clothing, bedding, a baby playpen and other items, according to the warrant.

Investigators served the warrant Wednesday morning and released the apartment that night, police said. They had not filed an inventory of items taken from the apartment as of Thursday night.

Yellow crime-scene tape was still evident at the three-story duplex Thursday. Bits of it hung on front porch posts, and a long string lay in the tall backyard grass, where a small, shallow hole had been dug near the door.

Nearby, a makeshift shrine to Alayja Coleman created at the spot where her body was found had grown Thursday afternoon to include pots of flowers, small stuffed animals stapled to a utility pole and handwritten notes.

One note, which appeared to have been written by a young child, read, “God loves that baby. God needs that baby.”