Coroner: Cause of death still under investigation for missing Toledo teens found in burned home
Five people are facing charges connected to the case and police say others are likely involved.
TOLEDO, Ohio - On Friday, the Lucas County Coroner’s Office identified the remains found at an abandoned house that burned down earlier this month as that of missing Toledo teens Ke’Marion Wilder and Kyshawn Pittman.
The coroner released another statement Tuesday saying that the cause of death for the two boys remained under investigation and that no other information will be released at this time.
Following the coroner’s determination, police added murder charges to the kidnapping charges for Cruz Garcia, 24.
Garcia was arraigned Monday. A bond hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
Garcia is accused of assaulting the teens with a gun, tying them up, and leading them to a vehicle that was waiting for them, according to court records. Details about where Garcia or the driver may have taken the boys next were not disclosed. Cruz visited the vacant house “several times” between the time of the kidnapping and the fire, court documents allege.
Police records say the boys were last seen leaving a party at a cabin at Maumee Bay State Park in a silver SUV from the front main lodge. The hosts had asked the boys to leave because they had a gun on them, according to TPD. Police say another juvenile set up the ride for Wilder and Pittman.
Police arrested Garcia and Diamond Rivera on Thursday while the FBI, the Ohio Bureau of Investigations, and other law enforcement agencies searched the site of a burnt-down home on Chase Street that police said was likely the result of arson.
Rivera faces one count of obstruction of justice. She gave a false alibi for a person involved in the kidnapping, according to court records. Police said they questioned her several times in the investigation. Rivera was released on her own recognizance with her next hearing set for January 5.
Just days earlier, police arrested Carrissa Eames, Crystal Laforge-Yingling, and Corbin Gingrich on obstruction of justice charges in connection to the kidnapping of Wilder and Pittman. Those three were all released on an SOR bond. The defendants are accused of lying about the whereabouts of people involved with the disappearance of the juveniles. Officials collected phone records and video evidence that showed the defendants were lying, police said.
Documents obtained by 13abc say the last time anyone had any contact with the teens was when they were at Eames’ and Gingrich’s home on Maumee Ave, where police executed the search warrant.
TPD records say a witness said he could see the two boys in Eames and Gingrich’s basement in a video from Dec. 3. Eams and Ginrich told police they last saw Wilder and Pittman on Dec. 1, according to the search warrant.
Officers obtained several pieces of evidence there during the search, including 11 rounds of ammo, multiple bags of suspected marijuana, drug paraphernalia, a piece of glass with possible blood, and a DVR.
The connection between the teens and the five people facing charges in connection to their kidnapping is unclear at this time. TPD said Thursday that others are likely involved in the case as well but did not release additional information on other potential suspects.
The house on Chase Street went up in flames in the early hours of Dec. 5, the same day the teens’ family members reported them missing and two days after family members last saw them.
Toledo Fire and Rescue officials gave a briefing Friday about the house fire on Chase Street where the boys’ remains were later found which you can watch in full in the videos below. According to TFRD, witnesses said they heard loud bangs that sounded like fireworks and saw the house go up in flames. TFRD said the house had been vacant for up to three years.
According to TFRD Chief Allison Armstrong, TFRD crews searched the house for people inside during the fire but were only able to search the first and second floors due to little-to-no access to the basement from hidden fires. They planned to check the basement after the fire was extinguished.
One firefighter was hurt battling the fire that day when she fell through burnt stairs and lost contact with other firefighters, TFRD said. Crews called for a mayday, which involves fighting the fire but prioritizing finding and rescuing the injured firefighter. She suffered minor injuries.
Roughly an hour into fighting the fire, TFRD pulled crews from the house and switched to a defensive attack on the flames due to limited access to the building, the fire in the attic, and the wind outside, Armstrong said. Arson investigators and the building investigators surveyed the site and made the decision to demolish the building. Experts are still working to determine what exactly caused the fire but TPD said Thursday it was likely a case of arson.
13abc has requested further documentation related to the case from officials. Those with information can contact Crime Stoppers at 419-255-1111.
Watch previous coverage of this story below.
Coroner identifies remains found at site of burnt-down house on Chase Street as that of missing teens Ke’Marion Wilder and Kyshawn Pittman; Toledo man charged with murder
TFRD gives briefing on the Dec. 5 Chase Street fire where law enforcement officials later found the remains of the missing teenagers.
Toledo Police give a briefing on Dec. 5, 2022, on the investigation into the disappearance of Ke’Marion Wilder and Kyshawn Pittman after officials find human remains at the site of a burnt-down house on Chase Street.
Law enforcement search the rubble of a burnt-down house on Chase Street in connection to the alleged kidnapping of two Toledo teens
Action News Now: FBI, Ohio BCI investigating Toledo property in connection to missing teens
Family of missing teens plead for their safe return
TPD arrest three in connection with the alleged kidnapping of two Toledo juveniles
Copyright 2022 WTVG. All rights reserved.