Family welcomes coroner's questions

Family Welcomes Coroner's Questions

Exactly two months ago, the Tiller family's world was turned upside-down, after 2-year-old Ja'Marr Tiller was mauled to death by two stray dogs.

"I think we really just started sleeping here," Ja'Marr's aunt Octavia Johnson said.  "It's been a lot of sleepless nights worrying about him, thinking about him."

Interrupting the family's grieving process on Friday was an announcement by Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten, who will hold an inquest on the case next month.

"We know the cause of death, but are interested in the jurors' ruling regarding manner of death in this very complicated case," Wooten said.  "Tiller's death was not natural or a suicide, but is it appropriate to say it's an accident or to charge someone with neglect?"

Tiller was attacked by the dogs on May 27th.  His family told police he had wandered out of their home along Highway 17 in Mt.. Pleasant.

"It was an accident.  There's no one to blame here.  There's no one at fault," Johnson said.  "We're seeking answers just like they are.  It's puzzling to them what really happened that day, especially because there weren't any witnesses, because [Ja'Marr] is not here and dogs don't talk."

In order to help others deal with similar grief, the Tiller family has organized a program called "One Powerful Force."  The group will begin monthly meetings on August 23rd and will meet every 4th Thursday of each month at 6:30pm at the Comfort Suites, 1130 Hungryneck Blvd. Mt.. Pleasant.

"We know that his death was not in vain.  Although tragic, we believe there will be good to come out of it in the end," Johnson says.