CLEVELAND (AP) — The discovery of a young girl's decomposed body in a crib at an Ohio apartment is prompting authorities to take another look at her sister's death two years ago, the Medina County police chief said Friday.
Eric Warfel, 34, of Medina, is being held on a $1 million bond after being charged with abuse of a corpse. A cable television technician discovered the body of 21-month-old Ember Warfel on Wednesday after being allowed inside the apartment to upgrade the service.
Another daughter, 5-month-old Erin Warfel died March 31, 2013, in Cleveland. She was in full cardiac arrest when paramedics took her to a hospital on Easter morning. A medical examiner ruled that the baby died of "sudden unexplained infant death."
Medina Police Chief Patrick Berarducci said Friday that his detectives will be checking with authorities in Cleveland about the 5-month-old's death.
"We're going to look at the record and see if there's anything there to help guide us in our investigation," he said.
Warfel was arrested Wednesday while shopping with a 7-year-old daughter in suburban Cleveland. He checked into a motel several days before Ember's body was discovered. Suspected cocaine was found during a search of his hotel room, Berarducci said.
During a court hearing Thursday, a magistrate read from a report that said Warfel told police Ember died on June 18 and that he put bags of garbage in her bedroom to mask the smell.
Warfel had sole custody of Ember since he and his wife divorced in December. There were multiple references to Malinali Galdamez's substance abuse problems in the couple's divorce decree.
The Cuyahoga County Department of Job and Family Services removed the 7-year-old from their home before the divorce and allowed her to live with Warfel's parents. Officials from the Cuyahoga and Medina county job and family service agencies declined to comment.
Galdamez did not oppose the custody arrangement spelled out in the divorce. She now lives in New York, Berarducci said.