Today marks three years since an unknown man stabbed a second-grade girl on an elementary school playground in Dayton. Police have made no arrests in the case.
The day of the incident Dayton police said they had “a number of leads.”
Fast-forward to now: the attacker hasn’t been found, and World of Wonder elementary will close after students’ last day on May 23. Officers said the criminal case remains open, as does a civil lawsuit brought by the girl’s family.
A Dayton police sergeant said clues were investigated just after the May 6, 2016, stabbing, but that no suspects have been arrested.
“At that time we had a number of leads that were thoroughly investigated, but none of them panned out,” Sgt. Michael Godsey said last week. “We had great support and help from the public in this case, and we welcome any additional tips.”
Det. William Geiger said anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers (937) 222-STOP (7867) anonymously or Geiger at (937) 333-1353.
The assailant — described by officers as a light-skinned black male in his early 20s wearing a beige hooded sweatshirt, orange T-shirt and blue shorts — pushed the 7-year-old girl off a swing and stabbed her.
A school district spokeswoman said at the time that the school usually had a security guard in the building but that individual wasn’t there that day. Two security guards responded from Thurgood Marshall High School, which is about two blocks away.
Police didn’t comment on school officials’ statements soon after the incident that there was a clear and strong lead and that investigators were working on apprehending the suspect.
A police lieutenant said in June 2016 that the investigation hit “a stone wall” despite rewards for information leading to prosecution growing to $7,000.
Shortly after the incident, Dayton Public Schools fenced the playground around the a pre-K through 8 school on Oakridge Drive. A campaign to upgrade district-wide surveillance equipment has been ongoing.
RELATED:World of Wonder school closing
Attorney Robert Gresham, who represents the girl’s father, Vernon Nored III, in the civil lawsuit, said recently there was going to be a conference with the trial judge that will clear the way for an appeal of the judge’s ruling for Dayton Public Schools on summary judgment.
“We hope to convince the appellate court to overrule the trial court decision, but we understand that this case could impact Ohio law moving forward,” Gresham said. “As such, we may eventually have to argue this case in front of the Ohio Supreme Court on the issue of school immunity.”
Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Mary Wiseman ruled in September that, as a political subdivision, the school district was statutorily immune from civil liability.
In summarizing the incident, Wiseman wrote that the injuries suffered by the second-grader “were significant, so much so that the responding medical personnel needed to resuscitate the little girl.”
The judge wrote the girl suffered a fractured rib and lacerated lung plus “psychological and emotional injuries, including a diminution in her neuropsychological functioning, which will affect her the rest of her life.”
Gresham said exceptions to the immunity claim apply, in contrast to Wiseman’s ruling.
“We obviously disagree considering the fact this was a high crime area with numerous sex offenders in the neighborhood,” he said. “DPS should have known that they needed a fence and/or better security protocol in place.”
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