Authorities investigate three Trumbull County deaths, one missing teen

By Ed Runyan


Police found bodies in Bristol Township and in Niles on Thursday and scoured part of Mosquito Lake State Park in Bazetta Township for a teen whose car and flip-flops were found at the lake.

At about 10 a.m., police found the body of a man in a remote area of Bristol Township that might be that of Brandon H. Sample, 22, who went missing Monday.

Warren Police Chief Eric Merkel said police will not be “100 percent sure” the body is that of Sample until the Trumbull County Coroner’s office makes an identification.

Merkel said the police department and Trumbull County Sheriff’s office investigated the body and a possible crime scene, but police will await a ruling by the coroner to know whether the death is suspicious.

Sample, of Garfield Street Northeast, was reported missing by his family Monday morning after he left Sunday night and didn’t return.

He said he was taking a friend to Akron. Niles police found his car abandoned Monday morning near the Niles Greenway Bike Trail.

At about 11:30 a.m., a citizen found the body of an older male in a drainage ditch near the AT&T store on Youngstown Road across from the Eastwood Mall in Niles.

Niles Police Capt. John Marshall said Thursday afternoon the man was identified by his family, but police were not ready to release his name. His death is not considered suspicious, but Marshall said it is not known yet what caused the man’s death.

Also Thursday, divers and boat operators from various local agencies searched the waters near the Mosquito Lake State Park marina starting about 11 a.m. for a boy, 16, of Fowler Township, who left home about 1:30 a.m. and was reported missing by his family at 7:51 a.m.

According to police, he left home in his father’s 2004 blue Ford Taurus wearing only shorts and flip-flops, with no shirt, wallet or cell phone.

The car was found at 9:40 a.m. in a parking space next to the lake, and a pair of flip flops were found in the water.

Personnel used watercraft equipped with sonar to search the water for a body and a drone to fly overhead and check the wooded areas, said Bazetta Township Fire Chief Dennis Lewis.

Earlier in the day, at least four police dogs were brought to the scene, some of them placed in boats, to assist with the search.

As of Thursday evening, the boy had not been found.

Police also reported Thursday that a 15-month-old girl who was taken from her backyard swimming pool not breathing Wednesday night at her home on Homewood Avenue Southeast died.

Sgt. Joe Kister of the Warren Police Department said the department is investigating the circumstances surrounding the child’s death, but it does not appear to be a criminal matter.

On Wednesday, police and ambulance personnel were called to 239 Homewood near East Market Street at 6:37 p.m. after the girl’s mother reported that the child was not breathing.

The mother and father called 911 separately. The father said, “My daughter, she jumped in my pool, and she’s not breathing. Could you please send someone to 239 Homewood?”

The girl was taken to nearby Trumbull Memorial Hospital by ambulance. The home has a pool about 3 feet deep in the backyard.

Trumbull County Children Services also was contacted to respond to the scene, according to police radio calls.

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