SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – Eight year-old Cole Reed looks like any other second grader. But his experiences are far from normal.
Three years ago, Cole was savagely beaten inside his home near Salem, where he lived with his maternal grandmother, Melinda Todd. Todd was killed, and authorities say both had been attacked with a hammer, although their injuries were so bad, it looked like a shooting scene.
Cole, now 8, survived the harrowing ordeal, but has had three brain surgeries, months of physical therapy, and he still goes to counseling twice a month for his nightmares.
His step-grandfather and adoptive father, Elmer Milson, said he is lucky that Cole survived.
“He’s a great kid. He strives. For what happened to him, we’re blessed with him,” he said.
Milson adopted Cole after both of his biological parents were sent to prison. His mother, Miranda, was convicted of killing one of her other children prior to Melinda Todd’s death and is serving 18 years to life in prison.
“Cole knows we love him, and it’s the first stable family Cole’s ever had his whole life,” Milson said.
He described the terrifying scene on the day of the murder — on Dec. 3, 2012.
“It was like something was massacred in the house. It was on the walls, the ceiling,” he said.
Milson is holding out hope that the case will be solved, although he said he is not pleased with the investigation thus far.
“You know, they need to get their act together,” he said. “There’s too many unsolved cases in Columbia County, and it’s just not right. It’s not right at all.”
Although Columbiana County Sheriff’s detectives said they do have a person of interest in the case, no arrests have been made. They said the believe the incident was drug-related.
Columbiana County Sheriff Ray Stone said investigations such as these take awhile. He said his staff turned the case over to prosecutors some time ago, and when nothing happened, he asked agents with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations to take another look.
“At this time, they tell us that we did not miss anything,” he said.
Stone says detectives resubmitted their files about a month ago but still haven’t heard anything from Prosecutor Bob Herron or his staff. He said he hoped for an indictment by now.
“It’s frustrating for us and our detectives, and the whole office, because they put a lot of man-hours into investigating every little lead that comes in,” he said.
Repeated calls to Herron’s office were not returned Thursday.
In the meantime, Cole’s family waits for justice.