Family, friends and strangers gather to pray for deceased 2-year-old boy

Hagerstown man charged with child abuse, assault in case

October 10, 2011|By DAVE MCMILLION |
  • Hagerstown residents Melinda Deneen, 11, left and her mother, Angela Deneen, hold candles Monday night at City Park during a vigil for Logan Sellers.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Donald Mongan didn’t know Logan Sellers’ family.

But the Morgan County, W.Va., resident said he was so overcome by the boy’s death that he traveled to Hagerstown’s City Park so he could be among more than 100 people who remembered the child Monday night.

Logan, 2, died Monday after he was taken off life support at a Washington, D.C., hospital, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Brett Wilson. The boy was taken to Meritus Medical Center last week with injuries police determined to be suspicious in nature.

Brian Miller, 33, of 360 Buena Vista Ave., has been charged with one count each of first-degree child abuse, second-degree child abuse, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment in the case, according to police.

He was being held Monday at the Washington County Detention Center on a $500,000 bond.

The boy’s family members and their friends, as well as those like Mongan who didn’t know the family, lighted candles, joined in prayer and walked around the park’s lake in memory of the child.

Mongan broke down as he talked about the boy’s death.

“Our society has gotten to the point where anything can happen anymore. It’s a shame it takes something like this to get people to join together,” he said.

The remembrance for Logan at City Park started at 7 p.m. at a bridge at an entrance to the park along Virginia Avenue. Tammy Gangestad, who has lived next to Logan’s mother, Amanda Sellers, for about five years, stood at a table where people could sign a large green card in memory of Logan.

Green was Logan’s favorite color, and green ribbons and green glow sticks were distributed to the crowd.

Many of those who attended held candles and walked along Virginia Avenue and around the lake, chanting “God Bless Logan” and making their way to the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. There, the crowd formed a circle. Gangestad stood in the middle and said prayers.

“Dear Lord, tonight we bring this family before you,” Gangestad said.

She said Logan went into the Lord’s arms at about 4:50 p.m. Monday. Speaking to God, Gangestad said she was sure that “you took him under your wing.”

Gangestad told the crowd to push for Justice’s Law, proposed legislation that has been considered in the Maryland General Assembly.

The proposal was named after 4-year-old Justice Christopher Calvin Myers-Cannon, who died in January 2007. Floyd Edward Bingaman III was sentenced to 30 years in the boy’s death.

Currently, 30 years is the maximum prison term in Maryland for that crime, and there has been a push to make life in prison a possible sentence.

“We need our laws changed. We need someone to stand up for us,” said Margie Lindsey, Logan’s great-great-aunt.

About 10 members of Logan’s family were at the remembrance, including his grandmother, Cindy Zittle of Hagerstown, and Zittle’s sister, Judy Lucas, also of Hagerstown.

“It’s just hard to understand and take in,” Lucas said of Logan’s death.

Jill Connolly said she is a friend of Logan’s family, which refers to her as Auntie Jill. Connolly was holding Logan’s 1-year-old sister, Serenity, and Connolly said she would probably be caring for the girl until after Logan’s funeral.

Connolly said Amanda Sellers also has a 5-year-old son, Ryan.

People at the remembrance said donations were being collected to help pay for Logan’s funeral and medical expenses, and Gangestad said she expects more events to be held to raise money.

Miller was taken into custody Saturday when police received a tip that he was in a home in the 1200 block of Kuhn Avenue, Hagerstown Police Capt. Mark Holtzman said. Miller was taken into custody when he tried to flee out the back of the residence, Holtzman said.

Wilson said a homicide detective in Washington, D.C., was completing an initial report on the boy’s death and an autopsy will be conducted in the next day or two.

“Unfortunately, we’ll take it from there,” Wilson said.

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