Judge imposes gag order in Takoda Collins case

Amanda Hinze, left, and Al-Mutahan McLean
Amanda Hinze, left, and Al-Mutahan McLean

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

A Montgomery County Common Pleas Court judge has ordered attorneys and law enforcement to not speak with the media about the Takoda Collins case.

Judge Dennis Adkins issued the gag order last week in the case against Amanda Hinze, the girlfriend of Takoda’s father, Al-Mutahan McLean. In the order, Adkins says he has made a similar order in the McLean case. That case has been sealed, and the media is unable to obtain any documentation filed in it.

“In the present case, just as in the case against Ms. Hinze’s co-defendant, the court acknowledges that the allegations against Ms. Hinze are extremely serious and involve claims of horrific acts against a child. Further, this case has already received considerable media attention. The court takes its role in the administration of fair proceedings extremely seriously, and a significant part of that role is ensuring that cases can proceed with the proper decorum -- not a hysterical or circuslike furor,” the judge wrote in his ruling. “Based upon the nature of the allegations in the matter and the serious implications that could result if parties and/or attorneys speak about the case to the media, the court finds that a gag order is appropriate in this case, as well, until the conclusion of the jury trial.”

ExploreTakoda: Dayton police implement policy changes after death

Takoda was a 10-year-old boy who was found unresponsive last year at his home on Kensington Drive and later died at a hospital.

An affidavit filed in the Dayton Municipal Court case says that McLean, Hinze and Ebert were interviewed by Dayton Police shortly after Takoda’s death.

The interviews revealed that Takoda was kept naked in a dirty, locked, dark attic and abused daily over the course of several years, the affidavit says.

“McLean physically and emotionally abused Takoda while Hinze and Ebert allowed it and at times reported to McLean if Takoda was not doing what he was supposed to (standing with his legs crossed and bent over for extended amounts of time). Hinze and Ebert knew that reporting to McLean would result in a beating. None of the parties attempted to get Takoda help during these years of abuse,” the affidavit says.

Takoda Collins died Dec. 13, 2019, at the age of 10 in Dayton. His father, father's girlfriend and the girlfriend's sister all were charged in connection to Takoda's death.
Takoda Collins died Dec. 13, 2019, at the age of 10 in Dayton. His father, father's girlfriend and the girlfriend's sister all were charged in connection to Takoda's death.

A search warrant obtained by the Dayton Daily News also says “during the course of the interviews, information (was) obtained from all three subjects referencing items used in child abuse. These items include a pink taser, metal spatula, a green cot and plastic covers.”

Authorities in that search warrant said Takoda was tortured and abused.

Hinze is charged with multiple felonies, including involuntary manslaughter, kidnapping and child endangering, while McLean is charged with multiple felonies including murder, involuntary manslaughter, kidnapping and child endangering. Hinze’s sister, Jennifer Ebert, pleaded in the case but has yet to be sentenced.

ExploreTimeline of Dayton Daily News coverage of children services controversy

The Dayton Daily News has covered the case and circumstances around Takoda’s death extensively for almost a year. The Daily News reported in February that at least a half a dozen agencies and institutions in three states were at some point involved in attempting to protect the well-being of Takoda, but rarely spoke to one another. The paper also reported that teachers of Takoda said they reported concerns about his safety to Montgomery County Children Services numerous times before his death and that Dayton Police were called to check on Takoda in the months prior to his death.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered a state review of “alternative response” cases handled by Montgomery County Children Services.

The Dayton Police Department announced earlier this year they have implemented policy changes to how it conducts juvenile welfare checks, and Montgomery County Children Services said it has changed its structure to improve child safety.

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