Brown County 11-year-old killed by step-grandfather in "family tragedy"

Brown County man is charged with reckless homicide for the death of his stepgrandson (BCSO)

BROWN COUNTY, Ohio (WKRC) - A local man is locked up on a reckless homicide charge after an attempt to discipline his 11-year-old step- grandson went horribly wrong.

Investigators are calling it a family tragedy.

The end of Minnick Road outside Mount Orab is a quiet, peaceful place. At 6:40 p.m. Friday night, something went horribly wrong.

Melinda Martin called 911. Her 11-year-old grandson had stopped breathing.

It was the opening act of a tragedy that would see Dylan Davis-Martin die and send Donald Martin to jail for killing him.

Court documents show it all started with the 11-year-old having a temper tantrum. At some point, he struck his grandmother. Donald Martin, his step-grandfather, intervened.

Investigators say Martin grabbed the boy with the intent to calm him down. Court documents say the 400-pound man laid on top of him and wrapped his arms around him for 5 to 10 minutes.

“My understanding was he was actually holding the juvenile down over the couch, the couch arm, restraining him,” said Brown County Sheriff Gordon Ellis. “And it appears that during the act of holding him down over a period of time there was a positional or compression asphyxiation.”

EMTs took the boy to Mt. Orab Mercy where he was pronounced dead.

Dylan Davis-Martin was a student at Mt. Orab Middle School. Grief counselors were available for students on Monday.

The sheriff says Donald Martin is not a bad guy and that he has fully cooperated with investigators. He still faces a very serious charge.

“Reckless homicide indicates that there doesn't appear to be an intent, however the end result of the action is the 11-year-old is deceased,” said Sheriff Ellis.

An end result that no one expected or even imagined. Donald Martin's attorney called the death a “tragic accident.”

He says Donald and Melinda Martin were temporarily parenting the boy without being court-ordered.

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