McClure arraignment - Putnam Sentinel
Jessica McClure listens to Common Pleas Court Judge Keith Schierloh while sitting next to her court assigned attorney, Alex Treece, during an arraignment hearing held on Monday, May 6. (Putnam Sentinel/Martin Verni)

Editor's note: this article is an update on the initial report published online on Friday, May 3, 2019. Though similar, it contains new information learned since that initial report.

PUTNAM COUNTY — For months now, investigators with the sheriff’s office and county prosecutor’s office have been carefully building a case surrounding the tragic death of a young boy. On Wednesday, May 1, the Putnam County Grand Jury handed down indictments on the case. More charges may follow, as the case remains under investigation.

Jessica McClure, the deceased two-year old boy’s mother, faces a felony one charge of involuntary manslaughter, as well as a related felony three charge for endangering a child, and three misdemeanor charges for endangering children. These three misdemeanor charges are separate from the felony charges related to the child’s death, and involve his three remaining siblings - a fraternal twin of the deceased, and two sisters born in 2010 and 2012.

According to a press release issued by the sheriff’s office, on November 07, 2018 at approximately 4:58 p.m., the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call about and unresponsive child at 23090 Road Q, Lot L in Fort Jennings. Ottoville EMS and law enforcement were dispatched to that location. EMS arrived on scene and the child was transported to the Putnam County Ambulatory Care Center prior to law enforcement’s arrival. The boy was pronounced dead at the Ambulatory Care Center.

“It is still under investigation,” Sheriff Siefker said on Friday, May 3. “On advisement of the prosecutor’s office, we’re not giving any more details other than what’s in the press release.”

However, in response to a question regarding the nature of the death, Sheriff Siefker also pointedly added, “No. This is not a case of a shaken baby.”

The Sentinel has since received a case summary of the boy’s death prepared by the Lucas County Coroner. The manner of death is listed as an accident, with the cause stated as probable combined drug toxicity. It references toxicology results that returned positive for Trazodone and Pseudoephedrine.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Trazodone is used to treat depression, and Pseudoephedrine is used to relieve nasal or sinus congestion. While Trazodone is only available by prescription, Pseudoephedrine can be sold over-the-counter, with certain preparations available only by prescription. The information on Pseudoephedrine also included a specific warning not to give the medication to any child under the age of four, whether prescribed or purchased over-the-counter.

The coroner’s summary also noted contusions on the forehead and legs, as well as swelling in the brain caused by excessive fluid.

When speaking with Putnam County Prosecutor Gary Lammers regarding the possibility of additional charges, he said, “We’re looking at other individuals to see what their involvement was as well. Because there were multiple people living at this residence. We’re contemplating what was each individual’s culpability was in what happened. There were multiple adults there.”

“We’ve been looking at this every since it happened,” Prosecutor Lammers added, speaking on the nature of the alleged crime and how carefully his office has worked when gathering evidence and building the case. “We want to make sure we’ve got everything down before we make further decisions on what charges, if any, should be filed.”

Jessica McClure was arraigned in the Putnam County Common Pleas court this past Monday, May 6. A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for May 20.