A forensic pathologist testified Thursday that it’s unclear who put illegal drugs in the body of infant murder victim Dylan Groves. Dr. Susan Brown said she was unable to make any conclusions as to who may have exposed the child to drugs.
“I’m not able to say who did it,” she said from the stand. “He certainly didn’t do it, but yes, I’m not able to say who did it.”
Methamphetamine and amphetamine was found in the boy’s liver at death. Brown ruled out that he was given medication or was exposed to the chemicals via breast feeding.
Forensic death investigator Joseph Scott Morgan told Law&Crime that it’s possible that the meth showed up in the baby’s liver if the parents were smoking meth and the baby was inhaling it. He also mentioned exposure could happen if they were cooking meth — in those cases, traces of the drug could be found on dishes, such as a baby bottle.
The boy’s parents are on trial for his death. Both Dylan and his mother Jessica Groves testified positive for drugs after his birth on January 10, 2019, Assistant Scioto County Prosecutor Julie Cook Hutchinson told jurors in opening statements on Tuesday. Authorities took the child, put him in foster care, and later returned him to father Daniel Groves in part under the condition that Jessica Groves not live with the family while she deal with her drug issue.
According to prosecutors, the situation fell apart. A caseworker last saw Dylan alive on March 28. Jessica allegedly wasn’t complying with drug court counseling, and Daniel was allegedly dodging meetings with caseworkers. Authorities executed a search warrant on June 10, arrested Jessica Groves, and then, after a six-hour standoff, took Daniel Groves into custody. The father led deputies to a well, where Dylan’s body was located, Hutchinson said. The victim once again had illegal drugs in his system, and he had sustained multiple bone fractures.
Brown testified she couldn’t determine when the drugs had been ingested, but during redirect, she ruled out that this was something leftover in his body from birth. His body would’ve broken down the chemicals from the earlier exposure. The drugs found in his body at death was something administered at a different point in time.
“It wouldn’t still be in his system from birth,” Brown said.
The defense strategy in this case: Jessica Groves will take the hit for the murder case. Daniel Groves helped hide the body, but had no role in ending the boy’s life.
#GrovesTrial – Jessica Groves’ attorney says his client was a drug addict, that she alone caused injuries to Dylan and that she will testify that she and she alone murdered him. pic.twitter.com/oF31tYofVX
— Law & Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) January 7, 2020
Note: We added Morgan’s analysis.
Cathy Russon contributed to this article.
[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]