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Officials: Dad hid smell of girl's decomposing body with trash

CLEVELAND - A man who was keeping the body of his deceased daughter in his hometold police he put bags of garbage in her room to mask the smell of her decomposing body.

Eric Warfel, 34, of Medina, a suburb south of Cleveland, was ordered held on a $1 million bond on Thursday after being charged with abuse of a corpse. He was arrested Wednesday after a cable television technician was allowed inside his apartment to upgrade the service and found the body of 21-month-old Ember Warfel in her crib.

Warfel was granted sole custody of the toddler during a divorce last year.

A magistrate in Medina read from a report at the bond hearing that alleged Warfel told police Ember died June 18 and he hadn't informed family members or anyone else about her death. The report said Warfel put garbage in the girl's room to mask the smell and had moved into a motel with a 7-year-old daughter.

"We had issues with smells here. We just thought it was cooking. We used incense. Didn't think it was anything like this," neighbor Jeremy King told CBS affiliate WOIO.

Police found Warfel and his 7-year-old Wednesday at a shopping center in the Cleveland suburb of Westlake.

An autopsy will be conducted to determine how Ember died. Additional charges are expected, police said.

Medina police said Thursday that a substance suspected to be cocaine was found during a search of Warfel's hotel room.

Warfel and his ex-wife had another child who died. Five-month-old Erin Warfel died March 31, 2013, after being taken by paramedics to a hospital while in full cardiac arrest, according to an autopsy report. Her death was ruled as "sudden unexplained infant death."

The couple married on Feb. 14, 2012. A divorce decree indicates the 7-year-old has the same last name as her mother. The girl was removed from the couple's home before their divorce by the Cuyahoga County Department of Job and Family Services and moved in with Warfel's parents.

The child's mother did not seek any parenting rights beyond limited visitations. There are numerous references in the divorce decree to her substance abuse problems. The marriage to Warfel was her fifth and Warfel's first. Medina Police Chief Patrick Berarducci said the woman lives somewhere in New York.

Prosecutors asked for a high bond because they consider Warfel a flight risk. The magistrate said Warfel had previously discussed moving out of state. He told the magistrate Thursday that he last worked for an insurance company in 2012.

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