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Sheriff: Children found living in 'deplorable' conditions at Hocking County home; 3 people in custody

When law enforcement entered the home, they found a 3-year-old child locked inside a cage that was secured with zip ties.

HOCKING COUNTY, Ohio — Three adults were arrested after deputies found a 3-year-old locked inside a cage and a 1-year-old holding drug paraphernalia while executing a search warrant at a Hocking County home.

Hocking County Sheriff’s Office deputies were executing the warrant on Sunday regarding a sexual assault investigation at a 32-acre property on Bear Run Road in Logan when they found the children inside. Deputies described the home as being in "deplorable condition."

The sheriff's office said they found the 3-year-old child locked inside a cage that was secured with zip ties. The cage was reportedly filled with bugs, soiled bedding and a cup full of spoiled milk.

“We were actually trying to get what we thought was his sippy cup out for him and it had green spoiled milk inside of it.  There were bugs that I care not to even guess what they were inside of the Pack N Play itself,” Moritz explained.

The 1-year-old was also found walking around the home holding a methamphetamine pipe, according to the sheriff's office.

Credit: Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail

The parents of the children, Franklin “TJ” Varney, 38, and Megan Smith, 25, left the children and fled the scene because of their involvement with the sexual assault investigation, the sheriff's office said. The parents were later taken into custody after officers located them near a creek bed on the property Monday.

Ella Webb, 61, the grandmother of both children, was taken into custody Sunday and charged with endangering children. Webb has full custody of both children. She was taken to the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office Jail.

Webb was at home at the time and told investigators she locked the boy up so she could shower.

“She tried to give us excuses about why that took place,” Moritz said.

Webb pleaded not guilty in Hocking County Municipal Court on Monday. She is being held on a $200,000 bond.

Both children were safely taken into emergency custody with the assistance of South Central Ohio Job And Family Services and placed in emergency foster care, the sheriff's office said.

Credit: WBNS-10TV

*Editor's Note: Hocking County Sheriff’s Office previously listed the children's ages as 2 years old and 3 years old, but has since confirmed their ages are one and three.

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