By JOSH NEWTON
A grandmother arrested last week after a 2-year-old suffered chemical burns has bonded out of jail, according to employees at the Cherokee County Detention Center.
Brenda Vann, 55, of Tahlequah, was being held on a $75,000 bond for endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine and child endangerment.
Investigators were called to a Tahlequah hospital Friday night to check on a 27-month-old girl who had been taken in by her mother and grandmother, Vann.
According to an affidavit filed in Cherokee County District Court, Vann and the toddler’s mother discovered the toddler had severe burns on her body Friday afternoon. Authorities have said the injuries stretch from the girl’s armpit down the side of her body.
While at the hospital, Vann told investigators she didn’t know what happened to the baby, though the toddler had been in her care for several days.
Investigators said they later asked Vann if she uses narcotics, and Vann admitted she has been hooked on meth for about 30 years, but that she uses less now than in the past. She allegedly told authorities she last cooked meth on Thursday, Jan. 24, and also admitted she left the hospital Friday – before workers from the Department of Human Services arrived – and went home to remove chemicals from the house and put them into a white Ford Explorer.
Vann allegedly said she was afraid DHS would go through the house and see the items. According to investigators, Vann continued to deny knowing what had happened to the toddler.
According to the affidavit, doctors told investigators the burns on the baby could have been up to 48 hours old and were consistent with some type of chemical, though they wanted to consult with a professional to determine exactly what sort of chemical was involved.
Investigators were able to obtain a search warrant for Vann’s home and the Ford Explorer. They spotted the toddler’s pink shirt, which contained a burn mark, inside the home. Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault said the home was also littered with dog and cat feces.
Authorities found a lengthy list of items inside the vehicle, including an ice chest with bags of a white substance and several paraphernalia items such as straws, foil, light bulbs, and a smoking device; Coleman fuel; a bottle containing a two-layer liquid; a jug of muriatic acid; needles; digital scales; a purple backpack with a jug of muriatic acid; and another bag with drain openers, coffee filters, a white substance, and other items.
The toddler was placed into custody of Indian Child Welfare services, according to investigators. The investigation is ongoing.