VAN WERT — A man facing the death penalty in the killing of a 15-month-old boy is the only person charged but Prosecutor Charles Kennedy didn’t rule out charging anyone else.
“I don’t know at this point,” Kennedy said Wednesday after the arraignment of Christopher M. Peters.
The death of Hayden Ivan Ridinger remained under investigation, Kennedy said.
Peters, 26, entered pleas of not guilty to aggravated murder with a death penalty specification in the killing of Ridinger. He also pleaded not guilty to murder, felonious assault and endangering children.
Judge Martin Burchfield told Peters the maximum penalty was execution. Peters, who only spoke to answer questions from the judge, said he understood.
The judge set bond at $2 million.
Peters waived his right to a speedy trial because of the complexity of a death penalty case that will take his attorneys time to develop a defense.
Burchfield scheduled a pretrial for 11 a.m. Dec. 12 in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.
Ridinger’s obituary that was published on Love-Heitmeyer Funeral Home’s website listed he was born in Bluffton to David R. Maynard Jr. and Valarie (Ridinger) Dean. His father survives in Leipsic while his mother lives in Delphos. No arrangements were listed.
Few details of the crime have been made public. Officials said the child’s mother found him unresponsive Nov. 15 inside an apartment at 24249 Lincoln Highway. She called 911 to make the report.
Another woman got on the phone and asked for police at the scene saying it was clear the child was dead. The mother said she last checked on her son the day before when he was sick and not eating.
Peters was not at the apartment when the child was found dead. He was arrested in the days that followed in another county.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.