Coroner: rash of infant deaths locally

By Corey McConnell – bio | email

HAMILTON COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - According to the Hamilton County Coroner's office, so far this year seven infants and young children have been murdered by either their father or their mother's boyfriend.  In 2008 five infants and children died as a result of abuse all year.
"We've seen babies this year that have been shot, scalded, certainly abused." says Hamilton County Coroner Dr. O'dell Owens. 
Dr. Owens and his staff of forensic pathologists say the x-rays of young lives lost are the hardest to see as a pathologist shows us an x-ray of a baby so young his teeth hadn't come in yet. 
"It's hard to understand how anyone can kill a baby," said Owens.
Tyler Coggins will go to trial in January.  He's accused of murdering his one month old son, Terrell.  Mark Pickens will also go to trial in January.  Police say he shot and killed his girlfriend, her son, and a child she was babysitting.  That's only three of the seven young lives lost this year. 
Dr. Owens says in the last five years as coroner at least half of the children who've come through the door were killed at the hands of their mother's boyfriend. 
"If you see those early warning signs that they're short with your children.  If they're willing to spank them without permission, you better walk away from that relationship or you'll come to my house." Owens warns mothers.
It's an awful irony for Owens, who spent 20 years as an infertility specialist.
"I've met so many wonderful people who would be great parents if they had been blessed to have a baby.  Then you see people who have the gift and don't appreciate it and who destroy it," he said.
Owens says that young parents need more community and family help and support.  He adds that it's important that children stop having children.
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