Boy, 14, Was Found in Shallow Grave in April — and Suspect Was Just Arrested
An Ohio grand jury on Wednesday indicted a 29-year-old man accused of reckless homicide in the death of a 14-year-old boy he’s alleged to have buried on the farm where they had both worked.
During a press conference late Wednesday, prosecutors laid out the charges against Matthew Little, who remains in custody without bond.
Prosecutors referred to Little as a “friend” of teenage victim Jonathan Minard’s family while describing the boy’s death as “unintentional.”
Minard was reported missing on April 13.
For five days, investigators and volunteers searched for any sign of the teen. On April 19, the search ended at a Washington Township farm, where Minard was found buried in a shallow grave.
The farm is owned by Little’s family, and investigators say Minard was known to work there.
The Carroll County Coroner determined Minard’s death was a homicide resulting from “acute fentanyl intoxication.”
Grand jurors moved to indict following two hours of testimony.
Little, who was arrested Wednesday, is charged with three counts of involuntary manslaughter, corrupting another with drugs, permitting drug abuse, reckless homicide, gross abuse of a corpse, evidence tampering, failure to report knowledge of a death, heroin possession, involuntary manslaughter by permitting drug abuse resulting in the child’s death and endangering children.
He has yet to enter pleas to the charges, and it was unclear if he had retained a lawyer who could comment on the allegations.
The indictments allege that Little allegedly provided Minard with a fentanyl-related compound, and, because the child was in his charge, he “created a risk of serious physical harm to the child resulting in his death.”
“Jonathan Minard’s death occurred as a result of being furnished with a fentanyl related compound that allegedly resulted in his death,” Carroll County Prosecutor Steve Barnett told reporters.
Barnett said Little, identified early as a person of interest, allegedly tried to conceal the boy’s death instead of calling the authorities to report it.
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Wednesday’s press conference did not address how Minard came in contact with the illicit drugs.
Authorities are not disclosing details concerning the circumstances that led to the boy’s death, and Barnett refused to speak in specific terms about the evidence investigators have developed in this case.
PEOPLE has been unable to reach relatives of both Little and Minard for comment.