Friday, June 8th, 2012
Man faces charges for false 911 calls
By Margie Wuebker
Celina Police have filed preliminary charges against an Indiana man who made false emergency calls to 911 on Wednesday afternoon saying someone dumped a child's body in Grand Lake.
John Robert Walsh, 29, of Marion currently faces misdemeanor charges for making false alarms. There is a possibility of more serious felony charges, such as inducing panic, pending completion of the investigation.
The two calls around 4 p.m. drew emergency response from police, firefighters, paramedics, dive team members and street department personnel. Within minutes, investigators tracked the blocked calls to Walsh's phone number, and he reportedly denied knowing anything.
The Celina Fire Department dive team searched the shoreline and water near the Celina Rotary Lighthouse for nearly an hour. The search was called off after video from the Celina Water Treatment Plant, located across the street, showed no activity along the shoreline. Additionally, people at the scene reported seeing nothing suspicious.
Walsh allegedly called 911 to report someone dumping a child's body on the shore. The second call indicated a specific person who had placed the body into the water and used a rock to weigh it down.
The named person was at a home in St. Marys and reportedly told authorities Walsh has made false allegations in the past.
Authorities contacted Walsh a second time, and he reportedly admitted knowing something about the incident. He stated his intention to come to the police department to talk about the matter. However, a subsequent call from a person believed to be an attorney indicated Walsh would not be coming.
Chief Dave Slusser said the investigation is continuing with the cost of the emergency response being tabulated. If the tab reaches or surpasses a $1,000 threshold, Walsh could face fifth-degree felony charges for filing a false report and inducing panic.
"There is not a charge serious enough for what this person did," Slusser said this morning. "Falsifying the death or impending death of a child is unthinkable."
In the event felony charges are filed, authorities could go to Indiana to arrest Walsh. In view of his current misdemeanor status, an arrest could only be made if the suspect is found in Ohio.
"This case is a good example of today's technology tracking down a suspect and holding him accountable," Slusser said.