Sheriff: No gun used in Salem murder

By danny restivo


Authorities confirmed that a gun wasn’t used in an attack that left a woman dead and her grandson in critical condition last week.

The Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office said Melinda Todd, 43, of Salem, died of blunt-force trauma to the head, while her 5-year-old grandson, Cole Reed, was severely injured the same way.

In a press release, Sheriff Raymond L. Stone said initial evidence at the scene, along with a doctor’s report, suggested that a gun was used. He said a Summit County pathologist found no indication of a firearm during a preliminary autopsy the day after the killing.

Stone cited the ongoing investigation for not releasing the information earlier.

Todd and Cole were found by two girls at a Salem Township home along state Route 45. The children were living at the residence and had just been dropped off by a school bus when they came upon the scene about 4 p.m. Dec. 3.

The sheriff’s office has not identified any suspects in the attack.

Chief Deputy Allen Haueter said Cole, who underwent brain surgery last week, had spoken with the sheriff’s homicide task force. He could not confirm whether Cole was still in the hospital.

Hauter said investigators were at the scene Friday searching through the home. “We’re still working all the avenues,” he said.

Stone said officers have interviewed several people of interest, including Todd’s boyfriend and people close to the family.

Todd was the legal guardian of Cole, while his biological mother, Miranda Todd, 24, of Salem, serves 18 years to life in prison. She was convicted in June of killing her 7-month-old son Derek A. Dennison.

The child died in July 2010. An autopsy report indicated a pattern of abuse.

Stone said Cole’s biological father was incarcerated at the Mahoning County jail during the time of the murder.

Anyone with more information can call the sheriff’s office at 330-424-7255.

Don't Miss a Story

Sign up for our newsletter to receive daily news directly in your inbox.