Boy in DFCS Custody, Father Arrested
The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office suspects Jason Cole has been on a drug binge since last Thursday and did not provide his 11-year-old son with adequate amounts of food.
The father of Elijah Cole, the missing 11-year-old boy who was safely located today, has been arrested and charged with cruelty to children in the first degree, reckless conduct, possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana.
Detectives with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office have determined that Jason Cole, 43, took Elijah Cole "from house to house staying in different locations since last Thursday, kept his child from attending school for three days, is suspected of being on a drug binge during that time and has not provided adequate amounts of food to the boy," Lt. Jay Baker said this evening.
He also tested positive for marijuana and methamphetamine, a violation of the terms of his probation. Jason Cole pleaded guilty in late April to charges of battery and simple battery under the Family Violence Act, was sentenced to 24 months of misdemeanor probation and agreed to complete a Family Violence Intervention Program.
In his "petition to enter plea of guilty," he agreed that he would not "possess any Alcohol/Controlled Substances nor occupy any residence or vehicle where such is present." In the same document, signed April 24, he also spelled out what he did on the afternoon of March 10, 2011:
"Grabbed Tyler, and Elijah knocked over from contact with Tyler." Tyler and Elijah Cole are brothers. It is not clear where Tyler Cole is.
No one had seen or heard from Elijah and Jason Cole and family friend Will Copes since they stayed at a friend's Cherokee County home Friday night, Lt. Jay Baker, the spokesman for the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office, said Monday evening.
Authorities thought that they might have gone to Mississippi or Tennessee, but Elijah and Jason Cole were found in Pickens County, Baker said this evening.
Will Copes, the 19-year-old man suspected of being with Elijah and Jason Cole, led authorities to the boy and his father after they found him this morning at a Canton U-Haul with the blue 2002 Audi A-6 Station Wagon the men were believed to be driving.
"Copes advised he dropped off Elijah Cole and his father Jason Cole at a location in Pickens County," Baker said. "Investigators immediately went to an undisclosed address in Pickens and located the father and juvenile."
Elijah Cole was placed in the custody of the Division of Family & Children Services, while Jason Cole was taken to the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office South Annex for questioning. He is being held at the Cherokee County Detention Center in Canton on a $43,000 bond, Baker said.
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