Family says death ‘was no accident’
The stepfather of Mark Goodrich Jr., 12, who drowned in the Shenango River last week near an abandoned railroad bridge, said the boy’s death “wasn’t no accident.”
“The two other boys had been trying to get him to jump off of the bridge for the longest time, and he didn’t want to,” Orlando Brooks said Monday at the home of Goodrich’s mother, Sheila May Goodrich.
Brooks said the Goodrich family has heard that two boys who were at the river with Mark Goodrich Jr. have said that a 13-year-old pushed Mark Goodrich Jr. off of a railroad trestle into the river, jumped on him and held him under the water. Mark Goodrich Jr. was also beaten, Brooks said.
Sharon Police Chief Mike Menster, meanwhile, says the autopsy results he received Sunday from Dr. Eric Vey, Erie County, Pa., forensic pathologist, indicated that Goodrich died of drowning — and revealed no signs of an assault.
The boy’s body was recovered from the river at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. He had been missing for nearly two days.
The family thinks Mark Goodrich Jr. was beaten, but the damage found on the body was from “being in the water that long,” Menster said.
Brookfield Police Chief Dan Faustino said police are not sure whether Goodrich was among several boys seen in a Duferco Steel surveillance video jumping into the river from the Ohio side of the river into the water. The video doesn’t show the boys getting out of the river, Faustino said.
Menster said the Mercer County coroner’s office will not rule on whether the drowning was accidental or not until the Sharon Police Department completes its investigation.
“We’re still trying to interview and re-interview anyone with information in the case,” Menster said. “Until we do that, we’re not going to rule out anything.”