By Kim Palmer
CLEVELAND (Reuters) - A man accused of leaving his deceased infant daughter in an apartment last summer went on trial on Monday in northeast Ohio on charges related to the child's death.
Eric Warfel waived his right to a jury trial and opted for a bench trial, in which a judge will decide if he is guilty of five felonies including gross abuse of a corpse, cocaine possession and tampering with evidence.
Warfel in August pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but after a psychiatric evaluation Medina County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Collier ruled that he was competent to stand trial.
Last July, a cable installer discovered the body of Ember Warfel in an apartment in Medina, about 32 miles (52 km) south of Cleveland. The cable technician was doing upgrades in all the units of the building.
Law enforcement officials said Ember, who was born in October 2013, had been dead for at least a month.
The medical examiner was not able to determine a cause of death because the body was badly decomposed, according to public records.
After Ember's body was found, police located Warfel living in a motel with another daughter, who was 7-years-old at the time.
According to Cuyahoga County Domestic Court records, the domestic court judge had given Warfel custody of Ember in part because of drug problems of the child's mother, Malinali Galdamez.
Warfel had another child with Galdamez who died at 5-months old and the cause of death was ruled undetermined by a Cuyahoga County medical examiner. After Ember Warfel's body was found, police investigated the earlier death, but no charges have been filed in that case.
(Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Bernard Orr)