SHAWN BLACKSTON is obviously a custodial father, but there is not one word here on how he got custody. Nor is there one word as to what happened to the mother of this child.
Middletown child abuse case to grand jury
MIDDLETOWN — The father and stepmother of a 12-year-old girl police say was locked in a basement for nearly a month will have their case heard by a Butler County grand jury.
Shawn Blackston, 40, and his wife Joanna Blackston, 36, are charged with first-degree felony kidnapping, third-degree felony child endangering and unlawful restraint, a misdemeanor.
Middletown police Detective Fred Shuemake and Ashley Fritz, a Butler County Children Services intake case worker, testified at a preliminary hearing in Middletown Municipal Court on Monday afternoon that the Blackstons, of 1606 Philadelphia Ave., locked their 12-year-old daughter in the basement from June 18 until July 3 — the day children services removed all six of the couple’s children.
Fritz said after police had talked with Shawn Blackston — Joanna Blackston was not at the house — the decision to remove the children was made, and Shuemake said he was close to pursuing charges on July 3, but wanted to investigate further.
Fritz testified she was told by the girl that she had not been allowed to eat as much as the other children.
The day before the girl was freed from the basement, she said the girl had a bowl of cereal and a slice of pizza. The day she was freed — the afternoon of July 3 — she had only eaten a bowl of cereal five hours earlier.