Two parents remain at large and a grandmother is in custody after a sexual assault investigation led authorities to a child who was allegedly found in a cage and another who was holding a methamphetamine pipe.
According to a news release from the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, on Sunday, Sept. 18, authorities executed a search warrant at a home on Bear Run Road. The Sheriff’s Office said the home was in “deplorable condition.”
Inside, authorities reportedly found a 3-year-old child “locked inside a cage, which was secured with zip ties.” The cage was allegedly filled with a cup of spoiled milk, different bugs, and soiled bedding.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, a 2-year-old child was discovered in the home walking around with a methamphetamine pipe.
Because of the sexual assault investigation, the parents, Franklin Varney, 38, and Megan Smith, 25, reportedly fled the home. The children’s grandmother, Ella Webb, 61, has custody of the juveniles, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Webb was reportedly arrested and charged with endangering children, a third-degree felony, and she was booked into the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, third-degree felony charges of endangering children were filed against the parents.
The children were reportedly placed into emergency foster care.
In a statement, Hocking County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Caleb J. Moritz said “I very, very strongly encourage Mr. Varney and Ms. Smith to immediately surrender themselves to law enforcement. If they choose to run from their responsibilities, as they did tonight, the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office will tirelessly leverage every local, State, and Federal resource available to bring these two to justice.”