MEDINA, Ohio (AP) — A man whose daughter’s decomposed body was found in a crib by a cable television worker was convicted Wednesday of corpse abuse and tampering with evidence.
Investigators were unable to determine how 21-month-old Ember Warfel died last summer because her body was so badly decomposed. Prosecutors argued that her father, Eric Warfel, did not report his daughter’s death because he did not want an autopsy performed.
A judge also found the 35-year-old Warfel guilty of child endangering.
Warfel, who was found competent to stand trial after pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, will be sentenced next month and faces up to six years in prison.
Ember’s body was discovered last July in a Medina apartment, south of Cleveland.
Another daughter of Warfel’s, a 5-month-old, died in 2013. A medical examiner ruled that case as a “sudden unexplained infant death.”
Warfel’s attorney has said Ember was born with severe medical problems. He also said Warfel’s failure to report his daughter’s death was not enough reason to convict him on the corpse abuse and tampering charges.
While the cause of the girl’s death hasn’t been determined, an autopsy did find traces of cocaine in her hair samples.
Warfel was arrested after a cable technician went into an apartment to upgrade the service and found the toddler’s body in her crib. Warfel, who was divorced from the girl’s mother, had full custody of the child.
He told investigators Ember died about a month earlier and he hadn’t informed family members or anyone else about her death, according to a police report.
Warfel was arrested while he and his 7-year-old daughter were at a mall near Cleveland. He said they were living at a motel, and investigators found cocaine in his motel room, police said.
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