Couple Who Fled Child Endangerment Trial Arrested, Bond Set< < Back to
A Nelsonville couple who disappeared in the middle of a child endangerment trial appeared in Athens County court today, after being found and re-arrested Wednesday night.
Kayla Fannon and Samuel Thompson were each given a $1 million bond by Athens County Common Pleas Judge George McCarthy on Thursday, after being arrested in Franklin County late Wednesday night.
The high bond was requested by Assistant Prosecutor Elizabeth Pepper, due to the flight risk for the couple. Pepper noted that Fannon had died her hair since the pair had fled and said they had help in fleeing.
“It is the state’s belief that they were being aided by family,” Pepper told the judge, adding that one family member, Virginia Burk, had been charged with felony tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice in connection with the disappearance.
Fannon and Thompson were found guilty last week of two counts each of child endangerment and one count each of permitting child abuse.
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 pair sat for the first four days of a trial on the charges, but on the fifth day, May 12, they did not appear for court and attorneys could not get in contact with them.
That day, the prosecution and defense persuaded McCarthy to continue on with the trial despite the defendants’ absence. This can be done when defendants voluntarily fail to appear after a jury has been selected or when they have become “disruptive to the process,” Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn told WOUB at the time.
The jury went on to find both guilty on all counts, and a nationwide warrant was ordered for their arrest.
Blackburn announced on Facebook that the two had been picked up by Columbus police at about 11 p.m. Wednesday night, and the pair appeared for court Thursday morning after being transported by Athens County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Fannon and Thompson pleaded not guilty to one count of failure to appear, and have had a sentencing in the child endangerment case set for June 26.
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.