Report reveals flaws in interim Liberty chief's death probe

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LIBERTY — Had police Capt. Toby Meloro "followed the video evidence to its logical conclusion" the investigation into the death of Loraine Lynn would have immediately been taken "into another direction," concludes an internal report released by the township today.

Evidence including video revealed Lynn's death was not an accident as Meloro, who is taking over as interim police chief Monday, originally concluded.

Lynn, 60, was found face down in her mother's pond on Shannon Road Aug. 2, 2017. The police investigation led by Meloro initially concluded she accidentally drove a tractor into the pond.

However, the late Trumbull County Coroner Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk ruled in March that it was a homicide, as Lynn had no water in her lungs.

The complaint that led to the Internal Affairs investigation was filed July 9 and alleged Meloro did not follow up on security footage of suspicious activity at Lynn's mother's property, where she died.

Diane Pullin, Lynn's sister, called Liberty police a week after her sister's death to report that she had suspicious security footage of Lynn's car at her mother's property.

The Vindicator reported this month that Pullin stated the footage showed Lynn leaving her mother's house, then pulling back into the driveway half an hour later.

The car was later found behind a barn, out of sight of the security cameras.

The report says Meloro took the car to the police department, but did not process the vehicle for evidence before returning the vehicle to Lynn's family.

Although Meloro indicated that several people were interviewed, the report says no audio or video records or any interviews were completed and no actual written statements were obtained by Meloro.

Police Chief Richard Tisone wrote in the report that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Detective Sgt. Ray Buhala are "diligently working on the homicide case" and Tisone expects charges to be filed when the investigation is completed.

Tisone, who retires Friday, also noted Meloro had been a "faithful servant to the agency" and that he enjoyed working with him during his career.