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Published: Thursday, 4/27/2006

Teens will appear in court

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

WAUSEON - Two of the four teenage boys found unresponsive on Good Friday after apparently taking a disabled grandfather's muscle relaxant will appear in Fulton County Juvenile Court next week and the other two are expected to appear in Lucas County Juvenile Court.

All are charged with theft of a dangerous drug, which is a felony.

Jimmy Dennis, 17, who told Fulton County sheriff's deputies that he went into his grandfather's room and took the muscle relaxants from his top dresser drawer, has been held in the Northwest Ohio Juvenile Detention Center, Stryker, on a probation violation since soon after he was released from the hospital, according to Fulton County Juvenile Court Judge Michael Bumb.

Jimmy, who started the school year at Swanton High School as a second-year student, is to appear before Judge Bumb on Monday. Jimmy has a lengthy record.

The other three boys are at home, according to the sheriff's office.

Ryan Krise, 14, who is in eighth grade in the Pike-Delta-York School District but attended Swanton schools in the past, is to appear before Judge Bumb May 4.

The cases against John Engelhardt, a seventh-grader at Swanton, and James Elliott, an eighth-grader at Swanton, are being transferred to Lucas County because they live there, Judge Bumb said.

Such transfers are common with juvenile cases so that the county where they live can supervise them if they are put on probation or ordered to attend counseling.

John and James, who are cousins and live together with James' mother, are both 14. Neither has a record in Lucas County Juvenile Court.

Lucas County had not yet received paperwork from Fulton County late yesterday regarding the charges against John and James.

If found guilty, all the boys could be committed to the Ohio Department of Youth Services until they are 21. That's the maximum penalty and is unlikely for a first offense.

The boys, according to their statements to deputies, took a muscle relaxant called Baclofen, which is prescribed for very stiff muscles or muscle spasms. It is often prescribed for patients with multiple sclerosis, such as Jimmy's grandfather, James Dennis.

Baclofen pills typically range in cost from 30 to 50 cents each. But the value is irrelevant in the charge of theft of a dangerous drug.

All four boys were flown by medical helicopter to Toledo hospitals soon after they were discovered south of Swanton where they spent the night together at Jimmy's grandfather's house.

Some of the boys initially were listed in critical condition, but all were discharged within a few days and none is thought to have permanent damage from the overdose.

Contact Jane Schmucker at:

jschmucker@theblade.com

or 419-337-7780.



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