Tahlequah Daily Press

February 5, 2013

Woman jailed after toddler suffers burns

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Investigators jailed a woman last weekend after a 27-month-old girl suffered second-degree burns believed to have been caused by a methamphetamine lab.

Brenda Vann, 55, of Tahlequah, was jailed for possible charges of endeavoring to manufacture meth and child endangerment.

According to investigators with the District 27 Drug Task Force, Tahlequah police were first called to a Tahlequah hospital to take a report on the toddler’s “severe” burns, but they determined the incident occurred on Jones Road, outside of the city.

Cherokee County Sheriff’s Deputy Lonnie Bowlin arrived and spoke with a doctor who said the child’s injuries appeared to be consistent with chemical burns.

Vann, who is the child’s grandmother, told authorities she didn’t know how the injuries occurred, and the child’s mother gave the same story, Bowlin said. The doctor told Bowlin the girl’s injuries might have been up to 24 hours old by the time she was taken to the hospital.

Drug Task Force investigators said they began to speak with Vann and gathered information that chemicals used to manufacture meth might be inside the Jones Road home.

Vann also left the hospital before DTF agents arrived, went to the Jones Road residence, took something from the house and placed it inside a vehicle, investigators said.

Investigators gained a search warrant for the house and vehicle and recovered some of the girl’s clothing inside the home. They found several components of a meth lab inside the vehicle.

Vann then allegedly admitted she manufactured meth inside the residence several times.

Investigators said she was transported to the Cherokee County Detention Center. The case is still being investigated and more charges are expected, authorities said.

Indian Child Welfare representatives took the girl into custody, investigators said.