Couple accused in murder of 4-year-old boy now in Cuyahoga County jail


Joanne Vega and Romaine Tolbert (Photos courtesy: Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office)

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CLEVELAND– The couple, who fled the area after they were indicted for the murder of 4-year-old Eliazar Ruiz, is now in the Cuyahoga County jail.

Joanne Vega, 31, and Romaine Tolbert, 36, were indicted on Jan. 14, and they failed to appear in court for their arraignments. They were arrested last month by the U.S. Marshals in Adrian, Michigan.

According to Cuyahoga County records, Vega and Tolbert were both booked into the county jail on Tuesday. Court officials did not know when the two will be arraigned, but said it could be as soon as Thursday.

Family members of the little boy said they are relieved the two are in custody.

Landscapers found remains at a house on Longmead Avenue near West 130th Street in Cleveland on Sept. 20, 2017. The skeleton was covered in bags in the backyard.

For months, the boy’s identity was not known.

He wasn’t identified until his mother saw a sketch on FOX 8 that was drawn by Dr. Linda Spurlock, a forensic facial reconstruction artist and an assistant professor of anthropology at Kent State University. That’s when police learned the mother went to prison in 2017 and left Eliazar with Vega, his godmother. DNA confirmed his identity.

Records from Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office stated the victim tested positive for several illegal drugs, including fentanyl, and suffered two arm fractures.

Continuing coverage of this story here

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