Burnett County (WQOW) - A Burnett County man who was charged after his four-year-old child disappeared for hours was sentenced Tuesday to probation.
Gregory Nelson and Elsie Bearhart, of Siren, were charged last year after siblings of the missing child were walking up to people, asking for help finding the boy.
He was eventually found OK, but investigators said their home had rotting food, holes in walls and apparent feces on walls.
The children's grandfather told police the pair were addicted to meth.
Elsie Bearhart returns to court next month.
Burnett County (WQOW) - Siren parents face three misdemeanor charges after their 4-year-old son went missing for hours.
Elsie Nicole Bearhart, 32, and Gregory Nelson, 34, are both charged with three counts of child neglect. Nelson is also charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer.
According to the criminal complaint, police were called after a 6-year-old girl was approaching people and asking if they'd seen her 4-year-old brother. The 6-year-old and her 13-year-old sister told police the boy runs away a lot but they've always been able to find him. Police believe the boy had been missing for at least an hour. While on scene, one of the searchers found the boy. Police said he was wearing just a soiled t-shirt and pants.
The children's grandfather told police Bearhart and Nelson are both meth addicts. He said he'd been hoping they would get arrested for possession of meth so that something could be done to help the children. The sisters told police they hadn't seen their mother in a week but had just seen her earlier that morning.
Police escorted the three children back to their house and found their home to be very dirty with rotten food in the kitchen. There was writing and scribbling all over the walls and there were holes in the walls and doors. Police said liquor was within reach of the children, as well as a knife; there was hardly any food in the refrigerator. In the bedrooms, police found soiled mattresses and what looked like feces smeared on the walls. Police said it appeared the 4-year-old boy spent most of his time in his room, which had no lights and just a blanket covering the window.
Police said the oldest daughter kept apologizing for the condition of the home. They noted it seemed she was covering for her parents.
22 minutes after police first entered the home, Nelson emerged from a back bedroom. Police noted his pupils were dilated and his skin was sweaty. Police said he was swearing, asking police 'Why are you in my house?" When police told him they were there because his son was missing, Nelson told police that "was a lie, [the child] is with me."
Nelson and Bearhart are due back in court for their initial appearance November 29th.