Emotions were high Thursday as tears poured down Jessica Groves’ face as recordings from the jail were shared with the court.
Steve Gambill, a volunteer fireman in Otway, was the first to be questioned. He and full-time fireman, Dan Shirey, both testified as they were among the men who recovered Dylan’s body. Gambill stated that when called to the scene, he had heard rumors of what was there, but they didn’t know for certain.
Shirey shared with the court that there was a well on the property. Both firemen stated that it was small and could be easily tripped over. Photographs from that day proved the well was entirely hidden, yet full of water. Gambill explained that they partially drained the well before recovering two milk crates containing the body of the infant.
The crates were bound with three padlocks, 12 zip-ties and eight metal wires.
At the end of Gambill’s testimony, when asked if there was an odor, he uttered, “rot, death.”
Susan Brown, Scioto County Coroner, also took the stand Thursday and told the court she performed the autopsy after Dylan’s body was transported to the facility.
Brown explained that they found evidence of multiple injuries. Brown stated that within the milk crates was a “package” and many heavy rocks. Around the “package,” wrapped in duct tape, was a large circular iron object that she described as an “anchor.” Within the layers upon layers of plastic wrap, were two blankets at the core. Within them, was Dylan Groves.
Brown was classified as an expert witness, which allowed her to give her opinion on matters such as what caused the damage to Dylan’s body. Brown said that she believed that his multiple injuries seemed to occur during at least three different incidents.
Dylan had two broken ribs on his left side. Both showed signs of healing in the autopsy. His head was fractured in two locations. One of which had begun to heal, while he was alive.
Brown believed the healing fractures occurred sometime before his death. Photographs presented to the court showed the child had bruising in multiple locations and a laceration upon his arm. Brown stated the bruising was caused by blunt force trauma but could not verify the age of the bruises.
After a lunch recess, jury members filed back into the courthouse to hear testimony from a detective with the Scioto County Sheriff’s Department. The court was presented with video and audio evidence of Jessica and Daniel Groves speaking about their time in jail and the events that lead to their arrest.
Jessica and Daniel Groves’ 15-year-old son, Daniel Groves Jr. also took to the stand Thursday. Groves Jr., who was removed from his parents’ custody in mid-April by Scioto County Children Services, shared with the court he was currently living with his aunt and uncle.
Prosecutors asked the teen if he had seen any bruising on Dylan and he told the court, he observed bruising and swelling on Dylan’s scalp a few weeks before Dylan went missing. Groves Jr. continued to tell the court that he asked his father where Dylan had gone, he was told that Dylan left. As questioning wrapped up for Groves Jr., he was asked a series of questions by Daniel Groves attorney including if he had ever seen his father hurt Dylan. He responded with “no.”
The trial will continue Friday.
Reach Bailey Watts (740) 353-3101 Ext 1931
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