Will there finally be justice for Jaydee?
A former Massillon, Ohio, man has been charged with murder nearly two years after the death of his 4-month-old daughter.
Jay Biggs, 23, was arrested Wednesday by the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force and Massillon police. Biggs is charged in the June 5, 2006, death of Jaydee Biggs.
Biggs was arraigned Wednesday afternoon on first-degree felony charges of aggravated murder and rape in front of Massillon Municipal Judge Edward Elum. Biggs is being held at the Stark County Jail on $1 million bond. In order to be released, Biggs would have to post 10 percent, or $100,000, of the bond.
Biggs did not enter a plea at Wednesday’s hearing. He spoke little other than to ask the judge if he had been indicted.
“Not yet. You will be,” Elum said.
Investigators were tight-lipped about the details surrounding Biggs’ arrest. Massillon Police Detective Bobby Grizzard said Biggs’ arrest was the result of “persistent hard work.”
Biggs and his wife, Diana, had been considered suspects in Jaydee’s death.
“We never ruled out anyone as a suspect,” Grizzard said. “We just narrowed the field.”
When asked if others could face charges in the case, Grizzard said “we haven’t closed the book on anyone.”
Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero confirmed additional charges could be filed in the case.
“There are some other things that happened when (police) first went into the home that we want to investigate,” he said.
Biggs is scheduled to return to court a week from Friday for a preliminary hearing. However, it’s likely the case will be presented to a grand jury early next week, Ferrero said.
If Biggs is indicted, his case would be sent directly to Common Pleas Court. It’s possible the case could qualify for the death penalty, Ferrero said.
“We don’t know that yet,” he said. “When we present it to the grand jury, we’ll make that determination.”
Break in the case
While it was never completely closed, the investigation received a boost last year after the Ohio Attorney General’s Office was asked to get involved, Grizzard said.
“We went back over the case and reworked it again in conjunction with the Stark County Prosecutor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office,” Grizzard said. “We developed some additional leads and followed up on them.”
The Attorney General was able to provide additional resources to local law enforcement, said Ed Kallay, of the office’s special prosecutor’s unit.
“It always helps to get an extra pair of eyes on an investigation especially when you are at an impasse,” Kallay said. “I think Det. Grizzard did a great job on the case.”
In some instances, Kallay was in a better position to track down leads because the Biggs lived in the Columbus area for a time, Grizzard said.
The case presented a challenge to authorities because they never had the full cooperation of both parents. In addition, the couple has been jumping from residence to residence over the past couple of years, Grizzard said.
“We were left with a baby that died unnaturally and parents who provided no explanation,” Grizzard said.
The goal throughout the investigation, he said, was to bring closure for relatives and Jaydee.
“In the back of your mind, you would like to get closure for a child who was unable to speak and for other family members who suffered a loss as well,” Grizzard said.
What happened to Jaydee
Jaydee Biggs’ death was ruled a homicide by asphyxiation due to smothering. A Coroner’s Office report also revealed signs of sexual trauma.
Court documents show Jay Biggs claimed he put the couple’s children, Jaydee and 1 1⁄2-year-old Alexander to bed between 8 and 8:30 p.m. Sunday, June 4, 2006. Diana Biggs told authorities she checked on her children at 1 a.m.
Jay Biggs told investigators that he awoke around 7:15 a.m. Monday morning to find Jaydee dead, with a blanket wrapped around her head. He claimed he had “to tug” to remove it.
A complaint filed in Family Court by Jobs and Family Services indicated that Jaydee suffered severe vaginal trauma. Neither parent was able to provide an explanation for the injuries.
According to the complaint, Jay Biggs told police a male family friend was in the home from 9:30 p.m. until 12:55 a.m. However, the individual did not have access to the house, the complaint showed.
Alexander, now 3 1⁄2, was removed from the home for his safety based on Jaydee’s death and the seriousness of her injuries, said Michael Vaccaro, attorney for Children’s Services. Alexander was placed in the custody of a maternal aunt. The Biggs stipulated to, or did not challenge, the custody of Alexander at a trial in Family Court.
The court found that Jaydee was an abused child, Vaccaro said.
“We maintained all along these parents knew what happened to Jaydee yet were unable to explain how their child ended up with the particular injuries involved,” Vaccaro said.
The agency’s case involving the Biggs is closed, Vaccaro said. He said the agency was not required to monitor the movement of the Biggs family after court proceedings were finished.
“The criminal thing is its own issue,” he said.
Although an arrest has been made, Grizzard indicated the investigation is ongoing.
“We are still searching for information and I believe there is someone out there with that information,” he said. “There’s still work that needs to be done.”