Couple charged with child abuse; 2 others charged with burglary

Published 2:40 pm Friday, October 22, 2010

A mother and father have been charged with child abuse after their child tested positive for cocaine while investigation into a separate incident led to the arrest of two young men for commercial burglary.

On Sunday, a concerned family member decided to take an 11 month-old child to the hospital for an examination, said Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Shane Tucker. When staff at Highland Community Hospital conducted tests on the child, they found the child had cocaine in its system, Tucker said.

Deputies then went to the home of 32 year-old Jeanette Rebecca Jordan and 41 year-old Timothy Ray Starling, at 63 Cecil Smith Rd., Carriere and arrested them for felony child abuse after an investigation showed that both parents had been the sole providers of care to the child for the previous 48 hours, Tucker said.

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A separate incident on Friday, involved the theft of two John Deere Gator all terrain vehicles from a maintenance shop in the 500 block of Rock Ranch Road, the chief deputy said. Tucker said investigation into the incident showed the vehicles were driven off the property by two suspects, later determined to be 22 year-old Tyler Lee Smith of 122 Ruston Rd., and 20 year-old Darryl Griffin of 12 Lakeside Cove.

The department was alerted to the crime when a neighbor heard the ATVs driving around the area, the chief deputy said.

“It’s that kind of community support and concern … that leads to us having a better chance of solving these cases,” Tucker said.

Tucker said the shop had a surveillance system installed, which allowed the department to identify Smith and Griffin as suspects. Smith was arrested on Friday, but Griffin was not arrested until Tuesday, Tucker said.

One of the vehicles was found later Friday night, but second was not found until Tuesday when one of the suspects led investigators to its location in a wooded area near 122 Ruston Road, Tucker said. Both vehicles have been returned to the owner and both suspects are charged with commercial burglary, which carries a penalty of up to seven years if they are convicted, Tucker said.