Parents of missing girl charged
The parents of a 2-year-old girl who spent more than 10 hours lost in the woods near their home have been charged with felony child abuse, the authorities said.
The parents, Tamera Chunn, 30, and Jason Reed, 48, both of Road 236, Union, were arrested and charged two weeks ago, according to Neshoba County Sheriff Eric Clark.
The girl was found at about 1 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 14, with her dog on the far side of a pond roughly half a mile into the woods behind their home following an extensive search that included multiple agencies and departments, officials said.
During the investigation, which included interviews with both parents, investigators collected evidence that led to the charges, Clark said.
The authorities have “further unanswered questions” and more charges are possible, he said.
The child has been taken into the care of Child Protective Services, according to the sheriff.
Chunn was arrested on Sept. 14 in the early afternoon and was out on a $15,000 bond on Sept. 17.
Reed was arrested in the evening hours of Sept. 13 and was out on a $15,000 bond on Sept. 16.
The little girl had been reported missing just after 5:30 p.m. that Monday after her parents had been looking for her for an hour, Clark said at the time.
“She had a scratch on her neck and was dirty but otherwise was in excellent condition,” Clark said.
The child had wandered off without shoes or a diaper and was wearing only a striped dress.
He said she was not very talkative when they found her and that she did not cry. She was transported to Neshoba General for a full checkup.
Clark said they received the call at 5:38 p.m. after the family had noticed the girl and her dog were missing. They told the authorities they had been searching on their own for hours.
Clark said in addition to deputies, members of the Dixon and Linwood fire departments responded to the call.
They also received assistance from the Winston County Sheriff’s Department which in addition to manpower sent a drone capable of picking up thermal images and a tracking dog.
Clark said the search party also included concerned neighbors and friends.
“I think this was a testament to everybody being able to work together,” Clark said. “We used all of our resources and found her.