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What happened to Teddy?

Published: Thu, January 31, 2013 @ 12:01 a.m.
  Man Arrested in Death of Struthers boy


Shawn Tedesco, Teddy’s father, is comforted by an unidentified family friend, left, as the boy’s grandmother, Sara Foltz, sits at right during Wednesday’s initial Struthers Municipal Court appearance of Zaryl G. Bush, 43, who is charged with rape and murder in the boy’s death.

By PETER H. MILLIKEN | milliken@vindy.com


The mystery of exactly how, why and even where 14-year-old Theodore “Teddy” A. Foltz was killed remains as city police continue their investigation into his death.

Struthers police charged Teddy’s mother, Shain P. Widdersheim, 32, of 28 Creed St., with child endangering, a second-degree felony, on Wednesday.

That followed Tuesday’s arrest of her ex-boyfriend, Zaryl G. Bush, 43, of 533 Creed St., who was charged with murder and rape in the teen’s death.

Family friend April Williams said the family was certain Widdersheim knew about the alleged abuse happening not only to Teddy, but also to her other two children.

“As far as the family is concerned, she knew everything that was going on,” said Williams, who was friends with Widdersheim and whose kids played with Widdersheim’s.

Williams said a grandmother of the children had the children tell Widdersheim about Bush physically abusing them more than two years ago, but Widdersheim refused to hear it.

“She called them liars, and threw their toys in the yard to punish them,” Williams said.

Widdersheim’s other children are in protective custody, Williams said, and the family’s focus now is giving Teddy a proper funeral.

“I feel like she knew everything that was going on,” the boy’s father, Shawn Tedesco, of Sharon, Pa., said of Widdersheim.

“She held him from me for the last five years, and she would hide things,” he added. She would make excuses as to why the boy couldn’t visit his father, Tedesco said.

“It was almost like she was trying to cover things up,” he said.

“He liked to play football,” he said of his son, whom he said he hadn’t seen since his 10th birthday.

Police said their investigation began Jan. 23, two days after Widdersheim brought Teddy to Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley in Boardman.

His injuries on Jan. 21 were so severe he immediately was transferred to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown.

“We don’t believe the injury was at her hand. However, she was involved in it, but we can’t speculate on too many of the details as [the investigation] is still ongoing,” said Detective Jeffrey J. Lewis.

“The mother is not cooperating with us,” he added.

Widdersheim will make her initial appearance on the child-endangering charge at 9:30 a.m. Friday in Struthers Municipal Court.

Bush made his initial appearance Wednesday morning in municipal court. He was arrested without incident at his residence at 3:37 p.m. Tuesday by city police and the Mahoning Valley Violent Crimes Task Force after police called on a bullhorn for him to come out of the house.

Teddy died at St. Elizabeth on Saturday, and Dr. Joseph Ohr, forensic pathologist and deputy Mahoning County coroner, performed the autopsy Monday. Preliminary results indicate “severe head trauma” as the cause of death, Dr. Ohr said.

“We don’t know for sure what [was] used” to cause the boy’s head injury, Lewis said.

Visiting Judge James Dunn set Bush’s bond at $1 million at the request of city Prosecutor Dominic R. Leone III, who said the high bond was necessary because of the seriousness of the charges and because Bush is a potential flight risk.

Atty. Lou DeFabio, who represented Bush at his initial court appearance, said Bush has no prior felony record and only a record of misdemeanor and traffic offenses.

Judge Dunn said he would appoint a lawyer for Bush after Bush said he is unemployed, could not afford to hire a lawyer, and has no income because his $198 a month in unemployment benefits ran out two weeks ago.

Judge James Lanzo, the regular municipal court judge here, said he removed himself from the case because he once represented Bush’s ex-wife in his private law practice.

Lewis said Teddy lived with his mother, but it is not clear whether he was injured at his mother’s residence or Bush’s residence. “We’re leaning now more toward it occurred in Zaryl’s house” and that his mother took the boy home after the attack, Lewis said.

“We don’t believe she was present during the actual injury. However, she arrived a short time later,” and she failed to report the incident, he added.

Lewis said Widdersheim kept the boy at home “for several hours” after his injury before taking him to Akron Children’s.

Widdersheim has 10 year-old twins who were present during the attack, and Bush’s children also were present during the attack, Lewis said.

Tedesco said he didn’t learn of the nature of his son’s injuries until Wednesday when he called Lewis; and hospital privacy rules prevented him from visiting his son at St. Elizabeth.

“She had a privacy block put on, and I didn’t have a visitation order, so they wouldn’t let me in,” he said, referring to Widdersheim.

According to Vindicator files, the last previous homicide in Struthers that initially was charged as a murder was the death of Stephanie M. Hoffman, 20, who was found beaten and strangled Aug. 7, 1992, in her East Midlothian Boulevard apartment.

Her 18-year-old boyfriend, Michael L. Atyim of Youngstown, initially was charged with murder and aggravated burglary, but pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and the reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Atyim was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison.

Contributor: Susan Tebben, staff writer


1INTEL(62 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Maybe he will just hang himself in jail.. or maybe with a little help it will happen...

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2lilgandee(103 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

From what I have read and heard people tried to help this teen but no one did. There is so much abuse and death to children from their own parents or they let their boyfriend/husband or girlfriend/wife hurt their own child..PARENTS ARE SUPPOSED TO PROTECT THEIR CHILD NOT CAUSE OR LET HARM BE DOWN TO THEM...

When will our government give proper punishment to these perps, help them before they are killed really check into abuse allegations..saddens my heart about Teddy, I wish he had spent time with him because maybe he would be alive, his mom is horrible she was supposed to put her kids first above all...sorry for the families loss!!

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3disgustedjoker(49 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Tedesco, please stop with your spewing ridiculous stories! We all know that there are laws and if you were a caring father, you wouldnt have been absent in this childs life. If you were not allowed in the hospital, something is definitely wrong. Where were you 3 years ago dude. Dont show up now and act like you tried!!! Give it up, Im not believing your lies. Take the sick woman to court for contempt or how about try to man up and petition the court for custody! Sick of seeing you throw out lies!! Your excuses arent sitting well now that an innocent child is gone...

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4Adnil(24 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Once again, our child welfare system has failed another child! The neighbors had repeatedly reported suspicions and nothing was done about it. Did they even speak with the children involved?

And where has his father been?

I, for one, can not understand any mother allowing such abuse! As a mother and grandmother, I can tell you that anyone who would do harm to my family would definitely see my claws come out!!!

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5DontGetIt67(8 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

People please do your research. This is such a tragedy. And it's not the "system" so much that is failing children. It's the way laws are written. It's not illegal to physically discipline a child. It's not even illegal to leave marks. You have to severely harm a child in order for there to be an intervention, unless the family is willing to admit they have problems. If someone calls CSB or the police, and they go to the house, and everyone denies anything happening, or has an excuse, it was an accident, etc. then there isn't a lot they can do until unfortunately something happens. Instead of placing blame on the system, a good course of action would be to write your government representatives and lawmakers to define child abuse in the Ohio Revised Code. And at the end of the day, fault lies with the people responsible for caring for a child.

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6INTEL(62 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Child welfare.. ( Childrens Services) is a joke...most of the people down there are totally use less..and do not follow any leads or follow up on phone call reports of abuse, kids being alone all night etc... I have called them before and nothing has been done ..... our system is broke and needs fixed..

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7DontGetIt67(8 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I completely agree the system is broken, but it's the laws that govern what these people do. And the child was let down by a lot of people who were responsible for his care. Very sad story, and it's easy to place blame on public officials when you don't understand they can only do what the law allows them to; Ohio Revised Code has a definition for abuse, and in that definition it's not illegal to use physical discipline or even leave marks. It's frustrating for the police and social workers as well, even if they feel something may be going on if you don't have evidence, you have no case. Unfortunately, in most cases the only time you get evidence is after a tragedy. Rest in peace Teddy.

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8dawn421(265 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

nothing happened in trumbull county at csb and nothing will be done in mahoning either. like i said he will be out in less than 5 yrs and she probably won't even go to jail. he should not have been given bail at all. i just hope they keep the others from her but we know how that will go!!!!

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9redheadgrandma(13 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I called about a child abuse case in another county and was brushed off as being too nosy. I called several different places and ended up calling the state until someone took action and investigated and handled the situation.

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10DwightK(1535 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I do not understand these mothers who choose low life creeps over their children. How could anyone allow someone in their life who would hurt their child? How could a mother not believe her children when they tell her someone is hurting them?

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11VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

This is another example of how laws are ignored by people with criminal intent. Laws just don't work on someone with criminal intent. They are designed to punish the culprit, but they often fall far short of necessary action. The abuse and brutal actions against children is so hard to accept by most of us in society and yet it happens every day. These stories are so difficult to read because we just cannot understand why some adults want to abuse children so. These individuals are sick cowards picking on the helpless, the weak and the innocent children of our future.

Society today is too forgiving and we always hope for the good in people to come out. Many criminals just cannot be rehabbed, despite all our efforts. And this is growing at an alarming trend. Makes one wonder why we even bother, just hang them and move on. Sorry I feel that way, but that's just my military background coming out during emotional times such as this.

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12peacelover(838 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I agree DwightK. As a parent, this whole story just sickens me.

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13kathyg(6 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Why is it that the child protective services is not allowed for some unacceptable reasons
to remove these children immediately and permanently from the animals that are perpetrating these unspeakable crimes against them? If it's the laws that forbid them from protecting these children , by removing them, they need to be changed immediately. If it's money , some needs to be found . And that so called "Mother" as she calls herself Should NEVER be allowed to see the Teddies Brothers again. God forbid they repeat the type of abuse they suffered on their child someday. I do not know what the answers must be but something must change.Those poor children...my heart goes out to them. This should never happen. RIP Teddie. I'm so sorry for the pain and suffering you endured.

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14Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

You could blame the system, CSB, police, welfare workers, etc. It all boils down to the parents.
This mother (if you can call her that) is nothing but pure trash.
The (absentee) father is about as useless as they come. He waits for the boy to die to come out like he cares now.
The ex-boyfriend, should be dead in 31 days, a sick animal that preys on kids. Real tough POS.

“The mother is not cooperating with us,” he added."

You would think this animal would spill out everything. The child is dead and you can't bring him back, so she should let out all the dirty laundry, including herself, to give the boy is last respects. If anything give the boy a final closure has to the reasoning behind his suffering.

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15JaneDoe(7 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

At least the guy wore a nice T-shirt to the murder trial.

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16uselesseater(229 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Struthers last homicide in 1992?!?!?!

That's 20-21 years ago.

Sure is in stark contrast to other nearby towns.

The father doesn't seem real with it. Unsure how your ex prevents custody and visitation and you just go along and do nothing about it. Doesn't sound like dad was real motivated.

Then again, doing the math here, realize we are dealing with two parents who were 16 when the deceased was conceived.

Amazing what some folks wear to court these days...

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17walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Exactly what I was thinking. Is it money, sex, drugs, lust... some powerful emotion that would cause a mother to let a predator to be anywhere near her children. I have no use for the biological father of the boy if he hadn't seen the boy for a couple of years. There has to be much more to this story than what has been reported.

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18DwightK(1535 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Walter, I agree. One parent cannot keep another from practicing their visitation rights. If they try, you go to court. You have a responsibility to be involved in your child's life and make sure that child is safe. You can't abdicate that responsibility and allow someone else to do it.

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19Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Just shows that we need to cut taxes and services more for those that need help . You only get what you pay for .
Sad that we as a community let this stuff go on year after year .

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20Kare6K(1 comment)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

While it is true that there is a thin line between what constitutes as "evidence of corporal punishment or other physical disciplinary measure..." and "child abuse," people in law enforcement and child protection are trained to know the difference between "evidence of corporal punishment or other physical disciplinary measure..." and an "endangered child" and therefore should easily know the difference between a red mark left from being slapped across the face, a welt from being paddled, or a blister from physical labor and a black eye from being punched in the face or a bruises from being repeatedly kicked, beaten or choked; open flesh wounds, burn marks, signs of brutality or torture, etc.
Nevertheless, in every case where there is repeated reports of suspected child abuse over several months or even years from multiple sources including family, friends, neighbors, and employees of the school system [as was in this case] it is expected by the taxpayers and society at large that law enforcement and child protection should always be more willing to risk the slim chance of being wrong and face a possible lawsuit, than what they should be willing to ignore the warning signs of an endangered child and in doing so either put that childs life in greater danger or worse.
As for the need for "evidence"...in CSB's own words..."We get cases, we determine whether there are legitimate issues of abuse or neglect. If there are, we investigate them."
Well, how in the heck do they determine if there are "legitimate issues of abuse or neglect" if they don't investigate the case until AFTER they determine whether they are legitimate or not!!!!! Unreal!!!!
Because they never truly INVESTIGATED any of this she was able to get away with hiding all of her dirt, his abuses and her childrens suffering behind a facade of lies. And because of the kind of lies she told with no one questioning their validity, she was also able to get away with isolating her children from the very people that could have protected them...not limited to, but including her own mother.
No, we don't need more laws, we need the ones that are already on the books enforced and the penalties made stronger and longer!!!! We also need to return to putting in place Judges who are less interested in rehabbing these type of criminals and more interested in punishing them with max sentences for their horrible crimes.
My bet is that he will plead out and we will be lucky if he serves 5 yrs.
She will begin cooperating and in the end will face a 6 - 12 month sentence for child endangering.
And this is what we now call justice :(

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21uselesseater(229 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

One has to wonder where the other father of the children living in that house are.

So much confusion... Yet another deceased child with a random last name that isn't the mothers current one or the biological fathers last name.

If I didn't know better, I'd think these mis-namings were being done intentionally to get more public money...

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22slider1(1 comment)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

poor boy I am sorry teddy. you did not deserve this. the people and the system has failed you terribly. Stephanie Hoffman you're missed everyday of my life. If we could only have one more day. Love your best friend.

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23dawn421(265 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

this is a story of abuse and a poor boy is gone, leave it to idiots like fattynskinny to bring the gun control issue into it in a not so subtle way, you are an idiot, do not comment if all you can do is bring the republican-nra bullcrap into it. SHAME ON YOU

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24DontGetIt67(8 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm sure that people in that field know how to distinguish between marks that are severe. I would find it a stretch to believe that the police or child services would go to the house, see the boy badly beaten, and then leave him there. Alot of these remarks are on pure speculation. We don't know how many times reports were made. For all we know, it may have only been one or two. We don't know how many times they went, what was observed, and what was said. True abuse is a very secretive thing which makes it all the more difficult to force any involvement into people's lives .I wouldn't be surprised if the mother was getting beat, not that it justfies her lack of protection, but just saying. The thing is, there is no government agency that will be able to prevent tragedies such as this. Can't prevent school shootings either. You know why, cuz there are sickos out there, period. I guess they should all be fired and pensions taken for not learning the skills in college they needed to predict the future. And when will people become outraged that the laws of this country do not protect the law abiding, but protects the law breakers?

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25dawn421(265 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

still an idiot and like i said SHAME ON YOU for even bringing politics into this.

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26hollywood(94 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

i think the mother should be charged with the same as that man. she is worse.that was here child to protect! she knew what was goin on. im sure that wasnt the 1st time he hit that poor little boy. he will get his in prison. those men dnt like child abusers or child molesters and he is both. and teddys father is a joke. where was he? now he wants sympathy. RIP TEDDY! your safe now baby!!!!!!!!

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27uselesseater(229 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

> The one thing these right wingers want you to not get is that almost all these shooters are scummy right wingers.

@gdog4766, where do you get that info?

Pull the voting registration records for these shooters, I suspect you might be surprised.

Newton, Connecticut, claims to be 74% Catholic and voted in 2008 64% for Obama.

Further, the median income in 2009 was, $108,686 and the median house value in 2009 was $685,400.

The crime index for Newton many years running is as low as you are going to find, especially in a town with a population of 85k citizens.

That's right, Newton has more people than the city of Youngstown.

The highest crime index rate in Newton in recent years was 107.3 in 2006. In 2011, it was 89. In 2010, it was 94.9.

Citydata ranks Newton:
#6 on the list of "Top 100 best educated cities (highest percentage of bachelor degree holding residents) (pop. 50,000+)"
#11 on the list of "Top 100 safest cities (lowest city-data.com crime index) (pop. 50,000+)"
#12 on the list of "Top 100 cities with highest median household income (pop. 50,000+)"
#13 on the list of "Top 100 cities with highest median house value (pop. 50,000+)"

Face it Newton, itself is very liberal Democrat. The shooter and his mother, very likely cut from the same cloth.

Someone isn't right winged survivalist because they own several guns and know how to use them. It's useless derogatory term after another with you libtards.

Stick to the real core issues and obvious connections.

The Sandy Hook shooter along with the theater shooter both have mental development issues and were/are on mental health meds. Both were strong middle class spoiled white kids. Both seem to be awash in academics and college level attainment.

Maybe we should outlaw mental health meds? Perhaps colleges should be heavily scrutinized too?

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28uselesseater(229 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Doh! User error. Wrong Newton.. That was Newton, MA.

Newton, CT in contrast :)

Population 1945.

Household median income: $109,767

2009 household value: $452,036

59% voted Obama in 2008.

70% Catholic Church adherents.

#10 on the list of "Top 101 cities with the highest number of police officers in 2006 per 1000 residents"
#42 on the list of "Top 101 cities with largest percentage of males working in industry: Management of companies and enterprises"
#49 on the list of "Top 101 cities with largest percentage of males working in industry: Publishing, and motion picture and sound recording industries"
#54 on the list of "Top 101 cities with largest percentage of males in occupations: Management, business, and financial occupations:"
#66 on the list of "Top 101 cities with most building permits per 1,000 residents in 2004-2006"
#93 on the list of "Top 100 safest cities (lowest city-data.com crime index) (pop. 5,000+)"
#4 on the list of "Top 101 counties with the highest percentage of residents that drank alcohol in the past 30 days"
#4 on the list of "Top 101 counties with the highest Ozone (1-hour) air pollution readings in 2005 (ppm)"
#6 on the list of "Top 101 counties with the highest Ozone (8-hour) air pollution readings in 2005 (ppm)"
#14 on the list of "Top 101 counties with the best general health status score of residents (1-5), 3 years of data"
#17 on the list of "Top 101 counties with the highest percentage of residents that visited a dentist within the past year"

Same points apply.

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29dawn421(265 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

and i again say, politics do not belong here, this is abut a boy that lost his life.

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