Joani M. Merrick
Joani Merrick–Malone

(8-3-17) Next week funeral services will be held for little Joani Merrick-Malone ( 6 years old) at the Cisco Funeral Home in Celina. Her mother Heidi Mumford currently lives in Celina.  The story of little Joani, who spent five of her six years on earth suffering from a case of ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’, is a sad one.


Joani M. Merrick–Malone, age 6, passed away Saturday, July 30, 2017, surrounded by her loving family at Children’s Hospital, Dayton, Ohio. Joani was born January 29, 2011, in Dayton, Ohio.

Joani has been a courageous survivor of the effects of Shaken Baby Syndrome for the past 5 years. Her smile would light up a room and the inspiration she gave will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

She is survived by her mother, Heidi (Darren Malone) Mumford, Celina; maternal grandmother, Joan (Jim) Bennett, GA; and many aunts and uncles.

Joani is preceded in death by her maternal grandfather, Ron Mumford.


Memorial services will begin at 12 noon in Cisco Funeral Home, Celina, on August 9, 2017; where the family will receive friends from 11am – noon in the funeral home prior to the service.

Memorial contributions can be made to the family.

Please leave condolences to the family at

Little Joani’s life may have changed at a very young age that day in Kettering, but the story of what led to her death five years ago continues.

Marcus Merrick
Marcus Merrick

Her father, Marcus Merrick, who was 29 at the time of the ‘shaken baby incident’ was was convicted of two counts of felonious assault and two counts of endangering children in Montgomery County (Ohio) in October of 2011 and sentenced to 10 years in state prison.

Joani, who was just 3 1/2 months old in May of 2011 when her life took that drastic change.  Doctors said during the trial that the harm done to her was permanent and that she would most likely suffer from paralysis, blindness, cerebral palsy and other effects.

Kettering Police Officer Michael Burke told the Dayton Daily news in 2011:

“He admitted to our detectives that his actions caused the injury. That’s inexcusable. It’s pretty maddening.”

Prosecutors said during the plea hearing in 2011 that, should Joani die, they would pursue murder charges against her father.

In  a statement today (8-3-17) to the Outlook:

Greg R. Flannagan, Public Information Officer, Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office

We have been notified of the death of Joani, and are saddened by the news. We will review the results of the autopsy and meet with the Kettering Police Department to determine if the defendant, Marcus Merrick, will face any additional charges.