|Ottawa teen pleads not guilty to grand theft|
|Saturday, May 11, 2013 12:26 AM|
Staff and Wire Reports
OTTAWA - The Ottawa teenager who pointed authorities to the site where the bodies of two friends were found made his first appearance in court on Friday.
Michael Fay, 17, entered a plea of not guilty to grand theft in Putnam County Juvenile Court Friday afternoon. An investigation is ongoing and there is a probability of more charges being filed against Fay.
“It is premature at this point to say what those charges could be,” stated Assistant Putnam County Prosecutor Gary Lammers. “If the facts would warrant and support [a murder charge], it is on the table. But at this point, I have not seen a report that would give me a clear indication of whether that is appropriate at this stage or not, but we will reserve that right and we will make a thorough review.”
When asked about the possibility of charging Fay as an adult, Assistant County Prosecutor Todd Schroeder said, “If the facts and circumstances warrant that, all potential charges remain on the table.
Fay’s mother was beside him during the court appearance Friday. Fay himself said very little during the proceedings, answering only to tell Judge Michael Borer that he understood his rights. A pre-trial hearing could take place as soon as May 24.
The two dead friends were 17-year-old Blake Romes and his 14-year-old brother Blaine. Their bodies were found in a ditch along Putnam County Road 7 Thursday afternoon after Fay told Columbus Police were to look. The three boys lived together in a trailer home in Ottawa.
Early Thursday morning, the Romes’ mother, Shellie Grothause, was summoned home to see why Blaine had not reported to leave with his eighth-grade classmates for the class trip to Washington, D.C. When she arrived at the home in Elkcrest Trailer Park, she found what she said looked like a “crime scene.” Also missing was Grothause’s silver 2006 Chevrolet HHR.
An Amber Alert for the three boys was issued at 11:21 a.m. Thursday. Less than two hours later, Fay was captured by Columbus Police after he stopped at a gas station to ask directions. He was driving the missing car. The Amber Alert was canceled at 3 p.m.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said the 17-year-old told officers that the Romes brothers were dead and gave the locations of their bodies. Few other details have been released about the case.
Sheriff Mike Chandler said the bodies were found in different locations. He declined to give additional information on what happened, saying he was limited because those involved are juveniles.
Chandler said authorities were waiting for autopsies to be completed to determine the causes of the boys’ deaths.
Neighbors at the trailer park say the women who lived there worked overnight shifts. Brad Bailey, who lives across the street, said he saw the women outside pacing back and forth for much of the day after the boys were reported missing Thursday. He said he had seen all three boys laughing and joking together in the past.
Blaine was on the basketball and track teams, Kevin Brinkman said.
Blake was a junior at Ottawa-Glandorf High School, where he was involved in track and choir, principal Jayson Selgo said Friday. The school has about 530 students and word of his death traveled fast in the community.
“He was very well respected and liked by the students and faculty, as well. A very friendly kid,” Selgo said.
Marquis West, who knows all three boys, said they had lived together with their moms for less than a year.
“Every time we got together, they were always uplifting toward each other,” said West, an 18-year-old senior at Ottawa-Glandorf High School.
West said he knew the three teens from playing basketball in a church league. The two brothers were especially close, he said, despite their age difference.
“They were always together,” West said. “The only time they were separate was when they were on different teams.”
Counselors were available in the district for students and staff members who might need help coping with the news.
“I think everyone is trying to get through this difficult time in their own way,” Selgo said.
The school posted a notice on its website Friday saying “our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Blake and Blaine.”
Selgo said the 17-year-old in custody did not attend the high school.
Fay was ordered held in the Wood County Juvenile Detention Center.
A memorial fund has been established to help with funeral and burial expenses for Blake and Blaine Romes. Donations can be mailed to Romes Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 13, Leipsic, Ohio 45856 or donations for the fund can be made at any Huntington Bank location.
|Last Updated on Saturday, May 11, 2013 12:45 AM|