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Missing teen found in shallow grave died from acute fentanyl intoxication; death ruled homicide

Posted at 10:30 AM, Jul 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-08 23:10:40-04

CARROLL COUNTY — Jonathon Minard, the missing 14-year-old Carroll County teen who was found in a shallow grave in April, died from acute fentanyl intoxication, and the manner of his death has been ruled a homicide, according to the Carroll County Coroner.

"Homicide, in death investigation and forensic medicine, simply means that the death was caused by the actions or omissions of another person. Some of these deaths may be subject to criminal prosecution, others are not. Coroner's rulings are not determinative of any legal outcome," said Carroll County Coroner Dr. Mandal B. Haas in a news release.

Jonathon was last seen on April 13, which led to a massive search made up of over 100 volunteers, searching a six-mile area around the Dellroy Fire house and areas made of up hilly and wooded terrain.

On April 19, he was found buried in a shallow grave at a farm in Washington Township.

"My office continues to diligently investigate the circumstance surrounding the death of Jonathon Minard. The investigation is active. Dr. Hass has completed work, which is very important to our investigation, but the coroner's determinations are not conclusive of a criminal investigation," said Carroll County Sheriff Dale R. Williams in a news release.

Before he was found, relatives said Jonathon was picked up to do some work, including milking cows, on a farm in New Harrisburg and later was taken to a family friend's home closer to Carrollton.

Investigators said the boy complained of a toothache and was left alone at the residence. After that, he vanished.

The teen's aunt, Jo Hepner, said the family is still waiting for answers and wants criminal charges to be filed.

"We want justice," Hepner said.

Cheryl Taylor, who used to be the teen's neighobor, said many other people in the Dellroy community also feel frustrated by a lack of clarity in the case.

"Jonathon's family, our hearts go out to them because they're devastated. It's time they got something done," Taylor said.

In April, Williams said there was a person of interest in the case. The person of interest, who authorities have not named, has been questioned twice. That person agreed to take a polygraph test, but later changed his mind, according to the sheriff’s office.

Carroll County Prosecutor Steven Barnett would not answer questions about how the boy got the fentanyl or if someone buried him after an overdose.

"We're not going to speculate. Again, we're looking at all of the evidence in its entirety and those decisions will come at an appropriate time.

Williams said the investigation in nearing completion and he expects charges will be filed. He would not say if someone could be charged with murder.

RELATED: Missing 14-year-old Carroll County boy found dead after days of searching, authorities say