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Son of Westerville City Councilman May Face Murder Charges

Westerville Police detectives are meeting with Franklin County prosecutors about if murder charges should be brought against the son of Westerville City Councilman Dennis Blair.

Joseph Blair, 22, is currently charged with one count of endangering children and sits at the Franklin County Jail on a $2-million bond. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday at the Franklin County Municipal Court.

Four-month-old Janiya Cochran-Blair suffered severe head injuries on April 5. The infant died Sunday at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Blair told police that he tripped and accidentally dropped Janiya, the infant's head striking the couch.

Westerville detectives determined that Blair waited "two hours" before bringing the "unresponsive" toddler to Mt. Carmel St. Ann's Hospital. According to the police report, doctors transferred Janiya to Nationwide Children's Hospital, where she was placed on life support until she passed away Sunday.

Officers found "suspected marijuana" at Joseph Blair's residence on the day of the incident.

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Lanea Cochran, Janiya's mother, posted pictures of Janiya's lifeless body hooked up to life support machines on her Facebook page.

Janiya Cochran-Blair

Cochran also posted the following. "Let's be honest…Joseph Blair neglected my child and lied about it. That's why he is in jail, and I'm watching my whole heart on a ventilator passing away. I'M SICK OF THE LIES."

Joseph Blair initially told police that he waited 40 minutes, not two hours, before talking Janiya to the hospital. Police say Blair has also changed his "story multiple times" about how Janiya suffered a fatal head injury.

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