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(Yi-Ke Peng/WOUB)
(Yi-Ke Peng/WOUB)

Nelsonville Couple Guilty Of Causing Serious Injury to Infant, But Still At Large

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Two Nelsonville residents were found guilty of causing serious injury to their infant child, but law enforcement now need to track them down.

Samuel Thompson, in a 2007 mugshot.  Photo courtesy of the Athens County Prosecutor's Office
Samuel Thompson, in a 2007 mugshot.
Photo courtesy of the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office

Samuel A. Thompson, 31, and Kayla A. Fannon, 26, were set to appear this week at the continuation of a jury trial that began May 8 in Athens County Common Pleas Court. They faced two counts each of endangering children and one count each of permitting child abuse. All the charges are felony offenses.

The case, which was investigated by the Athens County Sheriff’s Office, began after Fannon took her infant child to an emergency room in March 2014, from which the child was transported to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

“It was found that the infant had in excess of 25 broken bones to her ribs, legs, fingers, toes, shoulders and multiple skull fractures, in various stages of healing, as well as significant brain injury,” according to Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn’s office.

The child was placed into permanent custody of Athens County Children Services in December 2014 on the order of the Athens County Common Pleas Juvenile Division.

Fannon and Thompson were present for jury selection and opening statements, along with the presentation of the defense’s case, including Fannon’s testimony, a release by the prosecutor’s office stated.

Kayla Fannon, in a 2010 mugshot.  Photo courtesy of the Athens County Prosecutor's Office
Kayla Fannon, in a 2010 mugshot.
Photo courtesy of the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office

But on May 12, Fannon and Thompson did not appear for court. Common Pleas Judge George McCarthy ordered nationwide arrest warrants for both after attorneys could not reach them.

The prosecution and defense argued on Tuesday to continue the trial despite Fannon and Thompson’s absence.

“Ultimately, Judge McCarthy ruled in favor of the state and the trial reconvened in the afternoon,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Prosecutor Keller Blackburn told WOUB a court can continue without the defendants in a case when they voluntarily fail to appear after a jury has been selected or when they are “disruptive to the process.”

On Wednesday, the jury found the couple guilty on all counts.

The search for Fannon and Thompson continues.

“Kayla Fannon and Samuel Thompson will not be fully held accountable for their actions until they are arrested and brought before the court for sentencing,” Blackburn stated in a release. “Anyone with information as to their whereabouts is urged to contact the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office.”

The infant was adopted by her foster parents and “has shown significant progress over the last two-and-a-half years,” the prosecutor’s office stated.