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Brownstown Couple Arrested On Child Neglect Charges
Updated August 11, 2016 12:19 PM
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(BROWNSTOWN) - A Jackson County couple was arrested after their two toddlers were found playing near a hazardous area -- an area that included access to several dangerous materials.

Police arrested 23-year-old William Ray Johnsonon one count of neglect of a dependant and 23-year-old Natasha Owens on two counts of neglect after Brownstown Police Chief Tom Hanner found Owens' 2-year-old son and a 3-year-old girl who was Owen's niece outside their home on the west side of town.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the incident took place on the evening of Saturday, August 6, near the corner of S. Depot Street and W. Walnut Street. This lane is frequently traveled by semi-tractor trailers hauling into and out of the Jackson Jennings Co-Op.

Authorities say the two children were playing alone in a gravel lane near a wooded area and a large field near the Co-op, which, "contains large equipment, chemicals, outbuildings, and many other hazards to small, unsupervised children." The children were about 35 yards from their home and less than 100 yards from a anhydrous ammonia tank, and other equipment.

When an officer approached the children, they ran into a nearby home. The officer followed the children inside and asked where their mother was. According to the affidavit, the children pointed to the bedroom, and the officer found Owens and Johnson asleep in the bed.

Police woke the couple, who told police the children had also been asleep. Johnson, however, refused to cooperate and went back into the bedroom and laid down.

Shortly thereafter, police say they began to take pictures of the interior of the home. The probable cause affidavit details what was allegedly found there:

  • The back door of the residence was able to be secured, but was not equipped with child safety equipment. While there, the officer saw one of the children were able to open the lock.
  • There was dog feced by the back door.
  • By the back door and within reach of the children was exposed wiring hanging out of the wall attached to a light switch.
  • In the bathroom, the toilet did not have a lid on the tank portion and was constantly running.
  • The kitchen area to the east and in the center of the house had several plates of food had mold on it.
  • Above the kitchen counter and near the sink the electrical panel was missing the cover and wires were exposed and hanging out of it.
  • In the living room, furniture blocked the front door, leaving only the rear door to exit the residence.
  • Police say the 3-year-old girl shared a room with her mother, who was at work at the time.
  • In the bedroom there was no type of floor covering, leaving only exposed plywood sub-floor,
  • The bed in the room did not have a mattress on it and items were strewn all over the floor.

While the photos were being taken, Johnson allegedly came out of the bedroom and began swearing at police. He then allegedly tried to walk out of the home, despite an officer's demand that he stop. When the officer grabbed his arm, Johnson allegedly swatted him away. 

At that point, the officer tased Johnson, but the taser failed, and Johnson pulled the wires out.

As Johnson walked out of the home, the officer demanded that he get down on the ground, but he refused, with the officer taking him to the ground and subdued him. 

Johnson was also charged with disorderly conduct and resisting law enforcement. According to the affidavit, the deputy driving Johnson to the jail had to stop his vehicle, "due to William getting out of control" during the trip, and other officers had to assist. Once at the jail, police say Johnson had to be placed in a restraint chair.

Both suspects are currently being held in the Jackson County Detention Center.

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