Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Suspect in killing no longer a guardian

By Sharon Turco
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Frederick Engelhardt, a suspect in the slaying of his mother, is no longer the state-appointed guardian of a severely mentally retarded woman.

Hamilton County Probate Court Magistrate Marc Combs appointed local attorney Terrie Sherman to oversee the care of Jo Ann Walls Monday until a permanent guardian can be chosen.

The move comes almost nine months after a county probate court investigator said Engelhardt and his mother, Diana Engelhardt, might not be the best caregivers for Walls, 63. Engelhardt was arrested last month in the death of his mother at their Colerain Township home.

Diana Engelhardt was Walls' niece. The mother and son had custody of Walls since 2000.

Walls' eldest sister, Hallie Sherbert, 83, and Walls' nephew, Phillip Daniels, 41, of Clifton, have both filed for guardianship, according to court records.

Acase worker for the county Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities said Walls is in a group home.

Prosecutors say Engelhardt bludgeoned his mother to death with a hammer last July and dumped her body in a cistern. After a visit to the home in late September court investigator Tim Leigh asked MRDD to step in with an emergency intervention.

Intervention was denied, leaving Walls in Engelhardt's care until January, when she was placed in a MRDD group home.


E-mail sturco@enquirer.com

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