Afternoon catchup: 5 Butler County stories you need to know today

Here’s a look at five big Butler County stories today to catch up on the news:

WATCH: Memorial continues to grow at Middletown house of 6-year-old James Hutchinson

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

A memorial with balloon, stuffed animals, signs and more has continued to grow this week in front of the Crawford Street home where 6-year-old James Hutchinson lived.

Hutchinson’s mother, Brittany Gosney, is accused of murder and other crimes in his death. Her boyfriend, James Hamilton, faces charges of abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

Gosney is accused of killing Hutchinson while trying to abandon him in a Preble County Park, and they are both accused of then disposing of his body in the Ohio River. His body has not been found.


Joel Schmidt, who witnessed Iwo Jima flag raising in WWII and became Hamilton entrepreneur, dies at 94

Joel Schmidt witnessed the planting of the American flag on the island of Iwo Jima after a fierce battle with the Japanese as a Marine in World War II.

But it was after he returned home that he planted his own flag, starting a family, operating six McDonald’s restaurants in Butler County and becoming a leader of Hamilton’s civic society.

Schmidt died Saturday at Fort Hamilton Hospital. He was 94.


Prosecutor: No evidence baby in Monroe motel trash can was alive at birth

A Hamilton woman has been indicted on a charge related to a fetus being found in a Monroe motel trash can in October.

Rebecca Houck, 30, was indicted on Monday by a Warren County grand jury on a charge of gross abuse of a corpse, a fifth-degree felony. The charge stems from an Oct. 9, 2020 incident in which the baby was found dead at Motel 75 on Garver Road.

The fetus was 23 to 27 weeks, according to the Warren County Coroner’s Office report, not as far along as first believed. But the evidence could not prove the baby girl was born alive.


Middletown man arraigned on three rape charges in Butler County

Credit: Butler County Jail

Credit: Butler County Jail

A Middletown man was arraigned Monday on multiple felony charges, including rape, for three alleged assaults in 2019 and 2020.

Taranpreet Singh, 30, of Village Drive, was taken into custody Feb. 19 and charged with two counts of rape, aggravated robbery and kidnapping for sexual assaults reported in August 2020 and September 2019, according to Hamilton police.

Singh also was indicted last week by a Butler County grand jury for rape and kidnapping reported April 2, 2020, in Middletown, according court records and a police report.


Butler County engineer planning most expensive construction season ever: What’s on the agenda

The Butler County Engineer’s Office road work plan for this year totals $43 million, the largest it has undertaken in Engineer Greg Wilkens’ 20-year career with the county.

Wilkens made his annual presentation to the county commissioners Monday and outlined the interchange, intersection, bridge and other improvement projects he’ll be directing this year.

“This is the largest capital improvement year that I’ve had in my history as county engineer and I think in the history of the office,” Wilkens said. “We’ve got over $43 million worth of projects which is huge.”


AND, for an extra sixth story of the day ...

Man indicted for murder in Middletown bar fight that turned fatal

A Butler County grand jury indicted a Middletown man for murder and felonious assault following a fatal bar fight last week in Middletown.

Brian Ingram, 51, was originally charged with felonious assault after he allegedly punched and kicked a man Thursday night in the Middletown bar. Ingram was scheduled to have his preliminary hearing Friday on the felonious assault charge in Middletown Municipal Court.

Then the man he allegedly assaulted, Phillip Taulbee, 56, of Middletown, died Friday night at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton after being transferred from Atrium Medical Center, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.