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Columbiana man remains in jail, pleads not guilty to falsification

Tataseo

LISBON — A Columbiana man called a person of interest in the suspicious death of his father remains jailed under a $50,000 cash or surety bond after pleading not guilty to falsification.

Nathan Tataseo, 46, whose address was listed as 230 S. Elm St., appeared for arraignment in Columbiana County Municipal Court Tuesday morning via video from the county jail.

Columbiana Police Detective Richard Whitfield filed the first-degree misdemeanor charge against Nathan Tataseo, alleging he made a false statement to detectives investigating the death of his father, James E. Tataseo, 76, also of 230 S. Elm St., who was found deceased at his home Thursday.

A pretrial has been scheduled for 1 p.m. July 14 in county municipal court regarding the falsification charge.

During arraignment, county Assistant Prosecutor Danielle Menning requested the higher than normal bond amount for a first-degree misdemeanor.

She told Judge Katelyn Dickey that the defendant, Nathan Tataseo, was a “person of interest in a suspicious death in Columbiana.”

The death of James E. Tataseo has been deemed suspicious by Columbiana Police.

Menning also said Nathan Tataseo was a flight risk because police found him living in the woods with his belongings.

He told the judge he would need appointed counsel. After his indigency was confirmed, attorney R. Eric Kibler was appointed as defense counsel and already filed a motion Tuesday for discovery regarding the evidence against his client for the falsification charge.

According to the affidavit filed by Whitfield, the death of James E. Tataseo was reported and “the apparent circumstances of that death led experienced officers on scene to suspect foul play.”

Nathan, referred to in the affidavit as Nathaniel, was questioned on East Railroad Street at Col-Pump on Friday, July 1, regarding his relationship and his whereabouts in the timeline of his father’s death.

During questioning, he told investigators he had not had access to his father’s house since June 27 “because he turned in his key to the house.” He also told investigators he was staying “by a tree in the woods” and had only eaten a “can of beans” recently.

Police found his camp site and obtained and executed a search warrant at the camp site, finding “the can of beans described by Nathaniel and two bags, one of which contained house keys and car keys.”

The affidavit said “the keys which were in his possession were used on the 230 S. Elm St. house which opened all exterior doors and worked on both vehicles parked in the garage, contrary to his previous statement to investigators.”

The death remains under investigation.

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