Four indicted in connection to death of newborn

Four indicted in connection to death of newborn

DEFIANCE, OH (WTOL) - Four people have now been charged after a baby boy, Ezra, was found partially decomposed in a Hicksville, Ohio, home on Arrowsmith Road.

Police believe Ezra was born to Sarah and Jared Stark on October 29, 2016, and died about 10 hours after birth and never received medical attention.

Ezra's body was later found in a plastic container in a pole barn at the family home in March 2018, nearly 17 months after his death.

Authorities are investigating if religious beliefs played a role in the case.

"There's likely to be a question about how far someone can seek, how far someone can choose not to seek medical care for a child," said Morris Murray, the Defiance County prosecuting attorney.

Jared Stark, Ezra's dad, is charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangering children and gross abuse of a corpse.

Sarah Stark, Ezra's mother, is charged with endangering children and gross abuse of a corpse, while Jared's parents, Steven and Sheryl Stark, are charged with gross abuse of a corpse.

"This case is unique as the information that came to light indicated," explained Murray. "And obviously, it is a matter of gathering as much information and detail as possible and trying to understand what happened."

Both Jared and Sarah Stark are facing counts of endangering children because during the 17 months after Ezra's death, their 4-year-old son was exposed to substantial risk of health and safety because of the exposure to his brother's remains. Children services is involved in the case for that purpose.

While no one is in jail at this time, all four suspects, Jared, Sarah, Sheryl and Steven, are scheduled to be arraigned in court on May 8.

Sarah Stark pleaded not guilty in court the morning of May 8 and requested to have a pretrial. The pretrial was scheduled for June 12 at 10 a.m.

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