Wheeling Man Accused of Abusing 6-Year-Old

WHEELING — A man faces child abuse charges after a 6-year-old child was said to have had a meltdown when faced with the prospect of going home with him.

On March 8, a student at an elementary school in Wheeling reported to a resource officer that Edward Cole, who was known to the child, had hit him in the back of the head. Police reports indicate that the school nurse examined the child, finding a 4.5 cm “bump” on the back of his head, which was bruised and tender to the touch. The child also reported forehead pain. At this point, no apparent action was taken.

On March 18, the same child fell ill at school, running a fever and vomiting, and was told Cole, 43, of Wheeling, would be coming to take him home. Upon hearing this, police say the child became “inconsolable,” attempting to flee, scream, cry, plead and beg to not be sent home with Cole.

A kindergarten aide was said to have picked up the child to pull him out of the office and to Cole, causing the child to kick out and attempt to dig his fingers into the wall, trying to avoid being sent home. Despite his efforts, the child was sent home with Cole after several minutes of fighting.

On March 22, the child was interviewed at Harmony House, where he recounted the same incident where Cole had allegedly hit him. Police reports do not go into detail other than to say it was consistent with the original reporting.

Cole was arrested and charged with felony child abuse resulting in injury. He is lodged at the Northern Regional Jail in lieu of $10,000 bond.

In an unrelated arrest on March 26, police also arrested Franklin Gooch, 47, of Wheeling, after he allegedly forced his way into a residence immediately after posting bond for alleged domestic violence at the same location.

Around 6:30 p.m., police responded to a Jacob Street residence where Gooch was allegedly in the process of kicking down a door. Court records indicate that this call came shortly after Gooch had posted $12,500 bond for third offense domestic abuse and trespassing, at which point Gooch had been advised not to return to this residence after posting bond.

At the scene, police spoke to a woman who said Gooch had pounded on her door demanding to collect his things. When he was told to leave, Gooch allegedly kicked the door in and started collecting some of his belongings. The woman said he left on a bicycle.

Gooch was arrested and charged with felony burglary. He also remains lodged in lieu of $10,000 bond at the NRJ.


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