Death of little boy found stuffed into a bag and left in backyard of a home ruled a homicide

A 4-year-old boy found deceased in a bag in the back yard of an Ohio home last year died via homicide, according to recently-revealed information by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner.

WKYC reports although the cause of death for 4-year-old Eliazar Ruiz has not been determined, his death, at least for now, has been ruled as “a homicide by unspecified means.” A contract worker pruning trees discovered the child’s remains inside a bag, in the yard of a Cleveland home last September. According to Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson, Eliazar died in either the spring or summer of 2017.

According to, Ashley Makuhan, 27, the boy’s mother, was incarcerated in February 2017 for a parole violation stemming from a drug conviction. The child’s cousin, Nikki Clark, said Makuhan allowed family friends to take care of the little boy. Clark said Eliazar’s grandmother checked on the boy numerous times and everything seemed to be fine at first.

Cleveland police released a composite sketch last December, prior to identifying Eliazar Ruiz [Photo: L. Spurlock/Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner]
“There was no sign that anything was wrong,” Clark said. “That’s what makes all of this so confusing…..I just don’t understand why someone would discard a child like that.”

When authorities found the remains, they initially had no idea they discovered Eliazar. Makuhan saw the story from jail and contacted detectives after noticing a resemblance between her son and a composite sketch drawn shortly after the remains were found.

“The teeth.  His teeth looked exactly like that,” Makuhan said at the time.

Makuhan worked with detectives in identifying the boy by submitting a DNA test.

FOX reports that the boy’s caretakers, whose names haven’t been released yet, were “well-known to the family.” Yet, court records show that a female caregiver was previously convicted for drug trafficking and child endangering, while a male caregiver was previously convicted for forgery.

It’s still unclear why Eliazar’s grandmother, Dawn Battle, didn’t have custody, but she said she wanted to file a missing persons report in June 2017, but without custody, she wasn’t allowed to. She reported at the time that she thought the caregivers may have taken the boy out of state.

Makuhan, who’s scheduled for release from prison on March 31, hopes justice for her son comes quickly. Currently, authorities haven’t made any arrests. Makuhan said she left her son with a woman who she considered a “good mother” and close friend, and has no idea why the woman would have hurt her son.

“I just want justice for my son. His mommy and his family is going to find who did this. And they are going to pay. I’m going to get justice for my baby and I love him.”

Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

[Feature Photo: Eliazar Ruiz/Family Handout]