Ohio parents and grandmother arrested after infant found locked in bug-filled cage, another holding meth pipe

Franklin “TJ” Varney and Megan Smith were wanted after deputies found their children living in terrible conditions

Ohio parents and grandmother arrested after infant found locked in bug-filled cage, another holding meth pipe
Ella Webb, Megan Smith, and Franklin 'TJ' Varney have been arrested for keeping the two children in deplorable conditions (Hocking County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)
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HOCKING COUNTY, OHIO: Two people on the run have been arrested after their children were found in deplorable conditions in Ohio, the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office confirmed. Franklin “TJ” Varney and Megan Smith were wanted after deputies found their children living in terrible conditions while serving a search warrant at their home Sunday, September 18. 

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"On Sunday, September 18th, Hocking County Sheriff’s Office Detectives, with the assistance of the Logan-Hocking Special Response Team, executed a search warrant at a residence on Bear Run Road, in relation to a sexual assault investigation," Hocking County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post. "When law enforcement personnel entered the residence, which was in deplorable condition, they located a three-year-old child locked inside a cage, which was secured with zip ties. The cage that the infant was in was filled with bugs, soiled bedding, and a cup full of spoiled milk. A two-year-old was also found walking around the residence holding a methamphetamine pipe."

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How the parents initially fled

According to WSBTV, the parents reportedly left the children and escaped the residence because of their involvement with the sexual assault investigation. The children's grandmother was detained and taken into custody. She reportedly has custody of the children. The children were taken into emergency custody with the assistance of South Central Ohio Job And Family Services. They have now been safely placed in emergency foster care.

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"The grandmother, Ella Webb, 61 of Logan, was arrested and charged with Endangering Children, a 3rd Degree Felony. She was transported to the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office Jail to await her arraignment in Hocking County Municipal Court," Hocking County Sheriff's Office's Facebook post read. "Additionally, 3rd Degree Felony charges of Endangering Children were filed against the parents, Franklin “TJ” Varney, 38 of Logan, and Megan Smith, 25 of Logan. Nationwide arrest warrants were requested from the court."

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The post added, "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."

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"Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of these individuals is encouraged to contact the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office at 740-385-2131 or send an anonymous text message to 740-380-HCSO," the post had said before the suspects were nabbed. 


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If you or anyone you know suspects child abuse, you are urged to immediately call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential and the hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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