Friday, July 3, 2015

Baby found in ditch tangled in barb wire, dad charged (Bell County, Texas)

Dad is identified as ZACHARY JAMES PHILLIPS.

Baby Found in Ditch Near Moody, Father Charged

Posted: Jul 02, 2015 12:37 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 03, 2015 12:02 PM EDT
UPDATE: July 3, 2015, 10:50 a.m.

Charges have been filed for the father of the baby who was found tangled up in barbed wire and in a ditch near Moody.

Zachary James Phillips of Troy, 25, was charged with endangerment to a child. His bond has been set at $500,000.

BELL COUNTY -- An 11-month-old was found in a ditch tangled up in barbed wire on Thursday near Moody.

Just after 11 a.m., police found the baby boy in a ditch near Franklin Road and State Highway 317.

"The child was located in a ditch, alive," said Lt. T.J. Cruz with the Bell County Sheriff's Office.

According to BCSO officials, Zachary James Phillips of Troy, 25, told detectives he took his son on a ride, left his van on the side of the road, then somehow separated from the child and claimed he got lost. Phillips said he found a man in the woods who helped give him a ride back to his van. A DPS Trooper was investigating the vehicle when the men showed up. Phillips told the Trooper he hadn't seen his son since about 5:00 a.m. and something bad had happened.

"At that point agencies was contacted, the Bell County Sheriff's Department, Department of Public Safety, the Troy Police Department, all came out and started doing a search," said Lt. Cruz.

The baby was found about a quarter mile south of the abandoned vehicle, a tan Hyundai van, and was taken to the hospital to be evaluated.

BCSO officials had an address for Phillips on Ellis Street in Troy. Neighbors said he lived at a home in King Branch Mobile Home Park with the baby's mother Erika Marie Bollier.

"She come over and got me this morning and told me Zach took off with the baby, she was worried and she wanted to go look for 'em," said Susan Burns, neighbor.

Multiple neighbors said the couple got into a fight the night before. Burns said she had just returned home from driving around and searching for the 11-month-old when she learned he was 'ok'.

"I'm so relieved, I was so worried about that baby," said Burns.

Authorities said the baby only suffered scrapes and scratches after being found in barbed wire fence, possibly for hours, alone, and in the heat.

Neighbors were surprised it went this far. One said the couple had a tumultuous relationship. Burns said the couple had their ups and downs, but were overall good parents.

"They seem like they were happy, I know they play outside with the baby over here, the baby is always happy, clean," said Burns. "On the weekends I think they just stay home and take care of the baby, they drink a little bit, but that's about all I know of 'em."

The child was reunited with his mother who was being questioned at McLane Children's Hospital in Temple Thursday afternoon.

While multiple neighbors said the father and mother have a history of substance abuse, violence, and visits from Child Protective Services, representatives from CPS said they weren't allowed to say whether they've investigated this family in the past or not, just that they were now involved due to Thursday's incident. Police were not sure if drugs or alcohol were involved.

Phillips remained in custody at the Bell County Sheriff's Office Thursday night with Child Endangerment charges pending: BCSO officials said the Bell County District Attorney would look at the case Friday morning.

The investigation is ongoing.