AKRON, Ohio -- An Akron mother and her boyfriend's brother have been charged with murder in the methamphetamine intoxication death of the woman's 17-month-old son, Fox 8 News reports.
Heather Lerch, 20, of Akron, was one of four people arrested on Feb. 26 for allegedly operating a meth lab inside a home in the city's Goodyear Heights neighborhood. That night, she found her young son, Patrick Nicholas Lerch, unresponsive in his crib.
Patrick was taken to Akron Children's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead late that evening.
Akron Police Lt. Rick Edwards tells Fox 8's Dave Nethers that, according to the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office, Patrick died from meth intoxication from "the inhalation of chemicals during his abuse and neglect."
Medical Examiner's Office Chief Investigator Gary Guenther says the death has been ruled a homicide. The cause of death is officially listed as methamphetamine toxicity.
On Friday, Heather Lerch was charged with Murder and Felony Child Endangering. Authorities believe that her actions, along with those of her boyfriend Randy Legg, his brother Ronald Legg and Allen Kostra resulted in the child's death.
Ronald Legg, 22, of Akron, was also charged with Murder and Felony Child Endangering. Randy Legg, 19, of Akron, and Kostra, 24, of Akron, were each charged with Manslaughter.
On the February night in question, Edwards says responding officers recovered an active meth lab in the basement of the house on St. Leger Avenue. In regards to that, all four suspects have already pleaded not guilty to multiple drug felonies. They are currently in the Summit County Jail on those charges.