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LISBON - Columbiana County Prosecutor Robert Herron said the death of 7-month-old Derek Dennison will be investigated as a homicide due to "the nature of the injuries suffered (by the child)."
Herron explained he advised Salem Police to treat it as a homicide investigation after hearing the preliminary findings of the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office in conjunction with the Columbiana County Coroner's Office.
He wouldn't elaborate on the injuries, adding he wasn't going to speculate on what may have happened. He said the investigation was focused on the three adults in the residence at 264 N. Ellsworth Ave., Apt. 4 in Salem, although he said they weren't named as suspects.
He identified them as Miranda Todd, the 22-year-old mother of the dead infant, and Steve Van Pelt and Kaylee Stiffler, the two people she lived with at the residence.
"That's where the focus of the investigation is now," he said.
Todd took the baby to the emergency room of Salem Community Hospital early Friday morning. The child was in an unresponsive state and efforts to revive him failed.
Police responded to the hospital at 12:38 a.m. Friday after the child was declared dead.
Herron said Todd, Van Pelt and Stiffler were all living together at the time the death occurred. When asked if he could tell when the child was injured, he said "we've established a time frame, but I'm not going to comment on that."
Salem Police Chief Bob Floor said his department was looking at several "people of interest" in the case he called a "possible homicide."
The Columbiana County Coroner's Office wasn't releasing a cause of death or the results of preliminary findings. Investigator Brian K. Fullum said autopsy investigations can take from four to six months.
Floor said three officers were working on the case with both male and female "multiple people of interest" being investigated.
"We haven't referred to anyone as a suspect yet," he said, adding there has not been a ruling on the death, however if enough evidence is put together, "we could make an arrest with or without it."
The Columbiana County Sheriff's Office originally responded to the report, but immediate investigation determined that whatever occurred likely happened in the city.
Herron said it's likely if any charges are filed, they'll go through the grand jury via secret indictment.