Cause of death released for Carroll County mother, son dead inside home for over a year

Bodies of Carroll County mother, son found dead inside home over a year later
Bodies of Carroll County mother, son found dead inside home over a year later(WOIO)
Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 6:45 PM EDT
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CARROLL COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - The causes of death for 79-year-old Shelvagean Rhoden and her 59-year-old son, Jimmie Rhoden have been ruled ‘undetermined’ by the Carroll County Coroner.

Their bodies were found inside their home a year and half after they both died.

“I think they were both individuals that were medically fragile and they lived in a relatively reclusive area where they didn’t have a whole lot of contact with the outside world,” Carroll County coroner Dr. Mandal Haas said.

Haas said toxicology could not be done because of the stage of decomposition they were in.

They were identified by previous x-rays from a local hospital.

“Both individuals had been deceased for a long period of time so many of the tools of autopsy were limited,” Haas said. “Essentially they were skeletal remains.”

Haas said rulings of undetermined are rare.

“They are the first one I’ve seen in 19 years and I know talking to Cuyahoga county and some of the larger counties they don’t see these kinds of cases very often either,” Haas said.

According to the sheriff’s report, their bodies were discovered by a teenage boy who was hunting near the secluded home in Rose Township on December 26.

“A neighbor who went up, looked into the window thinking no one was there and seeing the deceased person inside one of the bedrooms,” Carroll County Sheriff Calvin Graham said.

Graham said certain clues hinted investigators to a timeline of when the mother and son likely died.

“What was left in the refrigerator, we know the power was turned off August 24 by Carroll Electric for no payment and there was mail in the house that indicated it was somewhere around mid-June,” Graham said.

The sheriff’s office conducted a welfare check that was requested by Adult Protective Services in September 2021.

“When the deputy went to the home, he got no response and had no indication that anything was wrong,” Graham said.

Investigators said there were no signs of foul play or forced entry.

Initially the county planned to take care of final arrangements, which happens when next of kin for the deceased can’t be located.

The sheriff’s office has made contact with relatives about the next steps for their estate.