Corey S. Flugga, 22, consults with attorney Ken Sass during an extradition hearing in Findlay yesterday.
FINDLAY - Displaying little emotion, the decorated Iraq war veteran stood before Judge Robert Fry in Findlay Municipal Court yesterday and agreed to be returned to central Ohio's Licking County to face charges that he killed his 3-year-old stepson.
Corey S. Flugga, 22, of Newark, Ohio, and formerly of Findlay, is charged with murder in the death Saturday of Carson Hanson at the apartment Mr. Flugga shared with his stepson; his wife, Heather, and the couple's 1-year-old son, Hunter. An autopsy concluded Carson died from blunt-force trauma to the abdomen.
Newark police Detective Sgt. Scott Snow said Mr. Flugga was home with his son and stepson while his wife was at work. He'd been outside talking to a neighbor and when he went inside, he called for the neighbor to come to the apartment.
"He dialed 911 and handed the phone to the neighbor to speak to the operator," Sergeant Snow said.
Family and friends of Corey S. Flugga watch in Findlay Municipal Court.
During the five-minute 911 call, the neighbor asks for an ambulance to come right away saying, "There's a little boy. He's unconscious. He's not breathing. He's 3 years old."
She tells the operator that Mr. Flugga had put the youngster down for a nap, gone outside, then come back in to check on him. Mr. Flugga can be heard saying that when he came inside, the toddler "was in the bathtub throwing up."
Sergeant Snow said investigators were told young Hanson had soiled his pants that afternoon, although he did not know if that's what led to the assault.
"We know that did occur," he said. "Mr. Flugga needs to tell the world what led him to commit this act. We don't know all the things that may have happened."
Sergeant Snow said police were called to the Fluggas' apartment in April after the 3-year-old reportedly fell and hurt his head. "We looked into it; however, the physicians at Children's Hospital could not confirm it was child abuse so we had nothing to go on," he said.
Handout not Blade family photo Enlarge
Carson's obituary says he "loved spending time with his favorite person, his mother. He loved Spider Man and riding his John Deere tractor. Carson also loved having his cousins around and loved to swim and have his picture taken."
Newark police traveled to Findlay on Monday to arrest Mr. Flugga, who had gone to his hometown with his family to make funeral arrangements. He was held at the Hancock County jail after refusing to voluntarily return to Newark, 35 miles east of Columbus.
Yesterday, Judge Fry ordered Mr. Flugga held without bond in the Hancock County jail until Licking County authorities arrived.
About a dozen family members and friends were in the courtroom in support of Mr. Flugga. Mark Lamb, who identified himself as a former guardian of Mr. Flugga, cautioned against jumping to conclusions about what happened.
"Carson was a good kid, and Corey's a good guy," Mr. Lamb said.
He said Mr. Flugga served in the Army but retired after he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a Humvee accident in Iraq.
"It's a sad thing," he said. "We love Corey. It's a family tragedy."
Mr. Flugga's mother at first declined to comment, then said, "I would like to say we love him. We're behind him."
An Army Web site identified Mr. Flugga as one of 91 "heroes" invited to attend the Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January. Mr. Flugga, who was listed as a member of the 1st Infantry Division, based in Fort Hood, Texas, received a Purple Heart, according to his profile on the Web site.
Carson's funeral is at 1 p.m. tomorrow in Coldren-Crates Funeral Home in Findlay. Visitation will be after 2 p.m. today at the funeral home.
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