Autopsy ordered after baby's death at suspected meth lab

Mansfield police are investigating the death of a 3-month-old boy who lived in a home officers described as a meth lab.

Mansfield police Lt. Doug Noblet said the department opened the investigation Monday afternoon after the infant was brought to OhioHealth MedCentral Mansfield Hospital by its mother. The hospital contacted police.

Richland County coroner’s investigator Tom Stortz said the baby was pronounced dead at 5:20 p.m. at the hospital. Noblet said the baby was dead on arrival.

Police are not publicly identifying the child or his mother at this time.

Police obtained a search warrant for the 584 W. Fourth St. residence after the death was confirmed. Investigators reported finding ingredients for a meth lab in the house. METRICH also is involved in the investigation. The state Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification was at the scene, along with Mansfield police detectives.

The suspected lab was neutralized.

Felony warrants were prepared on Alexander Dickson, 29, the mother’s live-in boyfriend, on charges of illegal manufacture of drugs and illegal assembly or possession of chemicals, according to police. Dickson is in the Richland County Jail on a $250,000 cash bond plus a personal recognizance bond, according to Mansfield Municipal Court records. Electronic monitoring was ordered by Mansfield Municipal Court Magistrate Phil Naumoff.

Noblet said Dickson is not the father of the child.

Investigators are awaiting the results of the autopsy report from Summit County medical examiner in determining the cause of death, he said.

“You might say it was suspicious because it is a 3-month-old, and we want to treat it seriously until we can determine it was natural,” Noblet said.

He said the mother found the baby on a couch in the living room.

Noblet said other children in the home were taken to a safe location by Richland County Children Services.

Noblet said the meth lab apparently was upstairs. He did not immediately know where chemicals for the meth lab were located.

Originally published in the News Journal on April 23, 2014.

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