Ohio father distraught after child's body found

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Associated Press

Posted on June 4, 2013 at 6:05 AM

HILLSBORO, Ohio (AP) — A man is distraught over the discovery of the body of a 1-year-old boy believed to be the son he hadn't seen since last year.

Authorities have charged a mother and her boyfriend after finding the body Friday in a southwest Ohio woods. Whitney E. Johnson, 26, and Nathan Ritze, 25, of Richmond, Ky., face charges of abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

Ian Niehaus told Hillsboro's Times-Gazette (http://bit.ly/Rx4E4S ) newspaper he had long worried about his children.

"I never thought it would be like this," he said in an interview, adding in tears: "I just wish I'd had more time with him."

Niehaus said he fathered 1-year-old Garin Niehaus and a 5-year-old girl and had helped Johnson raise a 7-year-old boy. Police say the two older children have been removed from Johnson's home and are in the care of the Kentucky children's agency.

Police had no attorney information for Johnson and Ritze, who were being taken to Ohio to face charges. Johnson and Ritze were in police custody and couldn't be reached for comment. Police said Monday Johnson told investigators the child had pneumonia, and a coroner said preliminary examination didn't show any obvious physical trauma to his body.

Niehaus said Johnson had cut off contact with him late last summer. He said he didn't know she was living in Kentucky. He told the newspaper he had heard they moved to Texas or New York.

He said he had gotten a truck driving license and wanted to establish child support payments in hopes of helping his parental rights. He said he had talked to an attorney but was told he needed an address to serve legal papers to Johnson.

"I'm trying to do what I can do," he said. "I needed to make more money."

Niehaus, 28, said he and Johnson had lived together in a rocky relationship that would see her take off with the children for a week or two, then return. He said she left for good last June. He also said his relations with her family were strained, so he couldn't get information from them about her whereabouts or the children.

He said he had assumed that once Johnson and Ritze needed money, "they'd have to come back."

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Information from: Times-Gazette, http://www.timesgazette.com

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