A Galion man is in custody Friday after his father reportedly died earlier this week from strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head.
Fredrick Saunders Jr., 36, of Galion, is being held in connection with the death of his dad, Fredrick Saunders Sr., 68, also of Galion.
Several weeks ago, Saunders Sr. received attention after going missing from his South Union Street home. The man was found four days later at his sister’s home in Marion.
The Galion Police Department, with assistance from state and county law enforcement agencies, began investigating the circumstances of Saunders’s death, after he passed away in Galion Community Hospital Wednesday.
Preliminary results of Saunders’ autopsy indicate that he died from strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head, leading investigators to rule his death a homicide.
According to Galion Police Chief Brian Saterfield, the elder Fredrick Saunders lived in the residence with his son and other family members.
Saterfield said it was family members who transported Fred Saunders Sr., to the hospital after they noticed there was something wrong with him late Tuesday evening.
Fred Saunders Sr., was pronounced dead shortly after midnight on Wednesday.
Following the initial investigation of the family’s South Union Street residence by a Crime Scene Unit on Thursday afternoon, police took Fredrick Saunders Jr. into custody. He is currently being held at the Crawford County Jail.
A family member of both the father and son, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the younger Saunders uses the name Lee and has served in the U.S. Army.
The family member said Fredrick Saunders Jr. possibly suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from three stints in Iraq but refused to seek treatment. The family member said the younger Saunders had a strained relationship with his parents and recently moved back to Galion from another state.
“Investigators are still working to sort out all of the details of what transpired,” Saterfield said on Friday afternoon. “At this time, we believe that the death of Mr. Saunders Sr. is an isolated incident. We also believe that the person that caused the death of Mr. Saunders Sr. is in custody. This is a tragic situation, but I want to assure the community that they are safe and the person involved is no longer a danger to the public,” said Chief Brian Saterfield.
Saunders Sr. was a veteran of the Vietnam War, serving with the US Army. He was graduate of Zanesville High School and a lifetime member of the VFW Post 3320 in Marysville.
The Crawford County Prosecutor’s office will reportedly be determining charges in connection with the homicide early next week. Further information regarding the case will be released as it becomes available.
According to Crawford County Prosecutor Matthew Crall, no formal charges have been filed against Fredrick Saunders Jr. while the incident remains under investigation. Crall said charges will be filed early next week.