More evidence is needed to prove that twin brothers from Belpre are guilty of multiple felonies related to forcefully and surreptitiously drugging one of the men's wife.
Felony charges of abduction and corruption with drugs against Robert and Thomas Trezza, both 45, of 150 Camelot Road, were dismissed earlier this month when Marietta Municipal Court Judge Janet Dyar Welch found the evidence presented during a preliminary hearing was not enough to prove the brothers' acts met the definition of both crimes.
Now investigators are strengthening their case in hopes of again presenting it at an upcoming Washington County grand jury.
Among other things, investigators are trying to obtain medical information for victim Susan Trezza, 40, who is married to Robert.
"They are still dealing with the doctors and getting her medical records, and I don't think that has happened yet," said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.
At the time of the preliminary hearing, it was unclear what, if any, drugs Susan was prescribed and what drugs her husband and brother-in-law were apparently forcing her to take.
About the case
Robert and Thomas Trezza, brothers from Belpre, were accused of abduction and corruption with drugs for reportedly forcing Robert's wife to take unknown pills.
The charges were dismissed earlier this month in Marietta Municipal Court after a judge determined the available evidence did not prove the statutory definitions of the crimes.
Investigators plan on continuing the investigation and the case will likely be presented to an upcoming grand jury for possible indictment.
According to Susan's brother, Kevin Morehead, who lived with Susan, Robert, and Thomas from October through April, the twins would crush up medication and put it in Susan's coffee or hold her down and force feed her medication to her on multiple occasions.
"(Her medication) was obviously not working... she was walking around catatonic, humming to herself. Sometimes she was violent. She wasn't herself," said Morehead at the preliminary hearing.
Robert and Thomas also tried on multiple occasions to exorcise demons out of Susan, who sometimes spoke in different voices, said Morehead.
Susan's mental state could have prevented her from taking her own medication as needed. Susan was in a psychiatric ward for a period, noted defense attorney Rolf Baumgartel.
The husband of an Alzheimer's patient is not held criminally liable for tricking their spouse into taking their medication, he noted.
But Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings noted the woman had not been appointed a guardian and was free to refuse her medication if she wanted.
Still Welch said more evidence was needed to prove the men's actions fit the statutory definitions of abduction and corruption.
Robert and Thomas were released from jail shortly after the May 14 preliminary hearing. However, Susan remains with a different relative, said Mincks. The whereabouts of a 9-year-old child who was in the home at the time of the men's arrest could not be confirmed.
As the investigation continues, Susan herself is also somewhat better able to assist with investigation, he added.
"She is recovering...and a little bit more able to guide us in the investigation," said Mincks, adding that Susan was in a trance-like state and unable to answer many questions when officers initially responded to a welfare check for the woman on May 8.
The incident was the 12th time the sheriff's office has responded to the residences in four years. The previous 11 visits were for 911 calls and hang ups, which are believed to have been made by Susan, said Mincks.
However, the calls were investigated at the time and no action was taken.
As the case continues, information will be turned over to the Washington County Prosecutors Office to be presented to a Washington County grand jury.
Whether the prosecutors office will seek indictments on the same charges, different charges, or a combination will depend on the evidence collected, said Rings.
"We'll wait and look at everything gathered up," he said.
Mincks did not have an estimate as to how long the investigation would take. While officers are actively working the case, medical information typically takes a while to gather, he said.
Three misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty against Robert and Thomas were not dismissed and are pending.
The men reportedly had three severely malnourished dogs and no dog food in the home.