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BABY'S DEATH Couple charged with crime



Published: Sat, July 23, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The former boyfriend and girlfriend admitted involvement.

ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) -- Two high school sweethearts have been charged in the death of a newborn boy, who was stabbed, beaten in the head and bundled with rocks in a duffel bag before being thrown in a water-laden quarry six years ago.

"I took this case personally," said Detective Karl Yost of the Lorain County Sheriff's Department. "It stuck with me, and I feel good it's being resolved."

Jessica Coleman, 22, of Columbia Township, who was 15 when she gave birth to the 4-pound baby on Feb. 4, 1999, was arrested Friday. She was charged with involuntary manslaughter, two counts of felonious assault, two counts of endangering children, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse.

Thomas Truelson, 25, of Strongsville, is accused of putting the body in the quarry. He was charged with gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and obstructing justice.

DNA tests are being done to see if Truelson is the baby's father, Yost said.

Both were released from the county jail on bond.

Neither could be reached to comment Saturday. A message seeking comment was left at Coleman's home. The telephone at a number listed in Truelson's name was not answered.

Both are cooperating with authorities, Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will said.

Yost was not one of the original investigators, but took interest in the case as initial leads dried up. A television report about the case in May generated tips leading to Coleman, police said.

Case details

Investigators have determined the baby, which Coleman said was called Steven, was born Feb. 4, 1999, at Coleman's home and was killed shortly after birth.

The baby had several broken facial bones and was stabbed, according to Lorain County Coroner Dr. Paul Matus. The baby was later wrapped in towels and put in a closet.

Yost said Truelson, a college freshman, dumped the baby in the quarry. A diver found the duffel bag July 24, 1999, resting on a shelf under 17 feet of water in the 65-foot deep quarry.

The baby, who became known as Baby Boy Hope, was buried a year after he was found in St. Mary's Cemetery in Elyria.

Yost said he could not comment extensively as to why he believes Coleman hurt the baby.

She told a boyfriend about the baby while they were vacationing in Florida in May, Yost said. The boyfriend told a friend and two family members who contacted authorities.

Coleman and Truelson confirmed they were involved in the baby's death.




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