Police Arrest Jackson Man For Child Abduction

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UPDATE 12:15 p.m. An entire community breathed a sigh of relief Friday when 6-year-old Macey Stewart was found, but area law enforcement agencies continue their investigation into exactly what happened on the evening of her disappearance.

An update from the Jackson Police Department received Monday, July 29, at approximately 8:15 a.m., stated that Macey Stewart was released from Adena Hospital in Chillicothe on Saturday, July 27. Upon her discharge from the hospital she was placed in foster care, pending a child custody hearing being held in Jackson County Juvenile Court.

Brenda Stewart, Macey's mother, is currently incarcerated on unrelated charges. She will be transported back to Jackson County to be present at the hearing.

Zachary R. Dunn, 30, of Jackson has been charged with Child Abduction and is being held on $50,000 bond in the Jackson County Correctional Facility pending his arraignment. A preliminary hearing was scheduled on Monday. Dunn could face other charges pending the outcome of the investigation.

Macey disappeared from the porch of her home Friday morning at approximately 1:30 a.m. Area law enforcement agencies and emergency personnel scoured the land areas around her home and even brought in divers to check out bodies of water in the immediate area.

At a little after 4 p.m. on Friday a woman in Liberty Township contacted the Jackson County Sheriff's Office to report that Macey had showed up at her home.

The Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) is assisting with the investigation of this case. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.

Police say a missing Jackson, Ohio girl had broken bones and bruises on her body when she was found Friday afternoon.

The 6-year-old Macey Stewart was missing for 14 hours Friday. She was seen at her home on North Chestnut Street in Jackson around 1:30 a.m before disappearing.

She was found about seven miles away from her home at about 3 Friday afternoon.

Zach Dunn, 30, of Jackson County, has been arrested and charged with Stewart's abduction. Family members said investigators told them Macey had two black eyes, a broken nose and a possible injury to her collarbone, in addition to possible other injuries.

“Living in a nightmare,” Jeff Seitz, Macey’s cousin, said of the 14 hours Macey was missing. “It was a dream you just wanted to wake up from.”

Seitz and his family said they feared the worst.

“To see what that baby went through. Every time I closed my eyes last night, I thought of her and see her scream; I couldn't sleep,” Tammy Batey, Seitz’s mother, said.

“Yesterday we had a number of prayers answered. Everybody was certainly praying this girl could be found,” Jackson Mayor Randy Heath said.

Now, there are also questions about where Macey will go once she’s released from the hospital. According to investigators, Jackson County Children Services will place her in foster care. Seitz said he had previously been subpoenaed to testify at a court hearing in August to decide whether Macey’s parents, Frank and Brenda Stewart, should be able to keep their children.

“I don't want to see my aunt and uncle lose their children. I know they love their children,” Seitz said. “At the same time, the environment they're living in isn’t very safe and suitable for them right now.”

Seitz said his aunt and uncle have had trouble with drugs and often fight in front of their children. He said now that Macey has been found, there will be an emergency placement hearing on Monday to determine whether Macey will go into foster care or be placed with family.

“Do I want to see them be placed with complete strangers? No. I would love to keep these children in our family so they can still be able to see their children,” Seitz said.

Jackson County Municipal Court records show that both Brenda and Frank Stewart have criminal records. Brenda Stewart has been charged with child endangering four times, in 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2008. All of the charges were eventually dismissed.

According to family members, the parents knew Zach Dunn, the man charged with Stewart’s kidnapping. Dunn has a criminal record of mostly traffic violations and misdemeanors. Police say they expect to file further charges against him.

Dunn is lodged at the Jackson County jail on $50,000 bond.