There is something wrong with the world today, and it is not just global warming, war, or the fact that most people get the majority of their news from entertainment websites and follow the likes of the Kardashians as if they were the second coming of Jesus Christ. There is something going incredibly wrong with humanity, especially in Ohio.
This weeks’ news about three Ashland residents who allegedly abused and imprisoned a woman and her 6-year-old daughter for more than two years is sickeningly similar to the Cleveland case that broke approximately six weeks ago where three women were held for more than a decade after being kidnapped.
In the newest case, three suspects are accused of coercing a mentally disabled woman into performing housework duties in their apartment; she was eventually held there from May 2011 until October 2012.
The victim has been identified only as S.E. According to reports, S.E. suffered a brain injury when she was 16-years-old, leaving her with the mental capacity of a 13 or 14-year-old.
On Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigators (FBI) arrested three people in the case: Jordie L. Callahan, 26, Jessica L. Hunt, 31, and Daniel J. Brown, 33. The trio were all charged with forced labor, Callahan has an additional charge of tampering with a witness. A fourth suspect has been charged but unidentified.
Both S.E. and her daughter are alleged to have been denied food, were beaten, were forced to sleep on the floor, and were threatened with snakes, dogs, and a gun. The child was kept in a padlocked room during the day where the pair slept at night.
Additionally, it is purported that the suspects took S.E.’s monthly government assistance checks after inviting her to live with them. They allegedly also injured the woman and would force her to seek emergency medical care to ask for painkillers that they would take from her.
The case broke when S.E. went to a local store and was caught shoplifting a candy bar; she asked to be taken to jail.
Upon investigation, authorities heard contradictory stories from Callahan and S.E.; Callahan accused the mother of abusing her child, and S.E. accused the trio of abusing and imprisoning her and her daughter.
The case evolved slowly and resulted in Tuesday’s arrest.
Tuesday’s story is just 67 miles south of one of Ohio’s biggest newest story, the story of Ariel Castro in Cleveland. Castro, 52, is accused of kidnapping and raping three women and holding them captive for more than a decade; he fathered a daughter with one of the women.
Castro was arrested on May 6 after one of the women managed to escape the house of horrors he had held her in for more than 10 years. He has pleaded not guilty to more than 300 charges. August 4 has been set for the beginning of Castro’s trial.
In other Ohio news, an unlicensed daycare owner is being accused of lacing children’s snacks with melatonin and Benadryl in order to get them to take their afternoon naps. Tammy Eppley was charged in Franklin County Municipal Court on Monday with six counts of child endangerment after she allegedly drugged six children, including her own.
Eppley, 37, runs the Caterpillar Clubhouse day care center out of her Westerville home where she cares for children ranging in ages from two to 5 years old.
According to officials, Eppley sent a series of text messages to a friend bragging about the incidents where she was able to get the children to sleep, and how some of the kids complained about the “funny tasting sprinkles on the cupcakes”.
Eppley denies the charges, “I made jokes about it. Very off-color jokes that I regret, but I never said I did in fact do that and she knew that,” Eppley said. “This person knew exactly how to hurt me most.” (abcnews.go)
While Franklin County Children Services conducted an investigation last month and found the charges to be unsubstantiated, the police find otherwise. “We thought that there was enough probable cause to charge her with this, and we’re pretty positive that she did this,” Westerville Lt. Paul Scowden said. (abcnews.go)
While the investigation is continuing in the Ashland imprisonment and forced labor case, if the trio is convicted of forced labor, they face up to 20 years in prison. An attorney for Callahan claims the mother and daughter were free to move in and out of the apartment as they liked and were not forced to stay. Hunt’s attorney said there are credibility issues with the mother and that Hunt will be pleading not guilty.
The news can be a depressing and overwhelming force, no wonder so many sink their time into the likes of entertainment news. Ohio seems to be an especially significant black hole of despair lately… there is something wrong with the world today.
By Dawn Cranfield
Senior Correspondent / Product Specialist