3 adults charged, 2 teens removed from their home in Meriwether Co. child cruelty investigation

3 adults charged, 2 teens removed from their home in Meriwether Co. child cruelty investigation

MERIWETHER COUNTY, GA (WTVM) - The Meriwether County Sheriff's Office is investigating a child cruelty case involving three adults and two teens.

Meriwether County Sheriff Chuck Smith reported that the criminal investigation division has charged three adults with the offenses of first-degree cruelty to children along with two teens being removed from the home.

On December 1, Police say two of their investigators were following up on an unrelated reported incident of Financial Transaction Card Fraud in the 900 block of Cleggs Ferry Road, Greenville, GA.

During this time the investigators were at a residence in which they were allowed access and were speaking with the adult complainant and other occupants about the previously reported matter.

While inside the residence, one of the two teens residents directed them to their bedroom.

Investigators asked the siblings, a 16-year-old female and a 15-year-old male about what he observed.

Police say investigators observed the following:

  • A dead-bolt lock on exterior of the bedroom door
  • A mattress over the door to drown out sound
  • The 16-year-old female's head shaved as a form of punishment; Police later learned a wig was given to her but was also take away as punishment
  • Three infer-red cameras installed in the teens' bedroom
  • All light bulbs removed from fixtures
  • A portable toilet in the corner of the bedroom
  • Urine and feces odor
  • Nail marks on windows; Investigators learned that they had been boarded up previously.

Investigators obtained a search warrant for the residence based on probable cause for the offenses of cruelty to children that were alleged and observed.

The search warrant execution resulted in additional evidence being obtained to include video surveillance and written logs.

The logs had information related to when the teens would cry and beg for food.

The investigation has resulted in the arrest of three suspects in this case: 41-year-old Barry Ellenburg, 35-year-old Daniel Odell, and 64-year-old Charlenne Ellenburg.

All three are being charged with 2 counts each of first-degree cruelty to children and are currently being held in the Meriwether County Jail without bond.

The teens have been removed from the home and placed in the custody of the Department of Family and Children Services.

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