The Scioto County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Wednesday night they found the body of a 4-month-old boy who had reportedly been kidnapped by drug addicted parents who lost custody of him at birth.
NBC 5 reports authorities identified the baby as Dylan Groves, an infant who may have been dead months before his discovery. The infant’s parents, Jessica Groves, 39, and Daniel Groves, 41, have been arrested.
According to police, Dylan was born with drugs in his system, prompting social services workers to take custody of him shortly after birth. The baby’s father went through the required steps for family unification, and was allowed to have Dylan temporarily as long as he continuing meeting the requirements. Children Services remained the sole custodian of the baby.
Authorities said Daniel Groves starting missing doctor’s appointments, home visits, and court meetings shortly after he got the baby back. Children Services tried to find Dylan but when unsuccessful, the agency contacted police for assistance. On May 3, police visited the Groves’ home off of the 2200 block of Mount Hope Road in Otway, Ohio, but couldn’t the baby or the parents.
On May 20, police made another visit to the home and spotted the couple on a 4-wheeler. When officers tried to stop the pair, they fled. Police returned to the home on June 10 with a search warrant. While Jessica Groves was removed from the home without incident, authorities said Daniel Groves locked himself inside the home and refused to come out. After a 6-hour standoff, authorities successfully detained him.
Arrest documents from Portsmouth Municipal Court indicate that the couple was supposed to bring the baby back to social services, but they kept the infant hidden and refused to return him.
Search crews scoured the woods surrounding the pair’s home for days while looking for Dylan. On Wednesday, they found the baby’s lifeless body at the bottom of a 30-foot well. The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office is currently performing an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that according to Sheriff Marty Donini, the baby’s father admitted that the baby died in late March. It’s unclear why it took Children Services weeks before they contacted police for help. It then took the sheriff’s department an additional five weeks to obtain a search warrant to search the property.
“We found out late Monday that we weren’t going to be able to find the child alive,” Donini said. “It was going to be more of a recovery of remains.”
“He was just the sweetest little thing,” Dylan’s foster mom Andrea Bowling said, according to FOX 11. “He loved being swaddled and held close and I did that with him for 12 straight days.”
On Thursday, people in the community held a vigil for Dylan and mourned the life of the young baby.
“Moving forward there needs to be changes made,” Sonia Banks, the vigil organizer, said. “There needs to be changes made for the system that we have. This should have never happened and I want Dylan’s life to have that purpose and meaning and to stop this from ever happening again.”
Both suspects are facing numerous charges, including abduction, interference with custody, and kidnapping. Daniel Groves is facing an additional charge of theft and receiving stolen property charge.
The investigation continues. Anyone with any information is asked to call Detective Jodi Conkel at 740-351-1091.
[Feature Photo: Dylan Groves/Handout; WSAZ Screenshot]