Nearly four months before 11-year-old Elijah Cole went missing, his father 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.
Jason Cole, 43, wrote in the margins of his "petition to enter plea of guilty" that he'd been "treated for" mental or emotional disability. 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."
Today, Elijah Cole was safely located. No one had seen or heard from the BridgeMill boy, his father or family friend Will Copes since they stayed at a friend's Cherokee County home Friday night, Lt. Jay Baker, the spokesman for the , said Monday evening.
Authorities thought that they might have gone to Mississippi or Tennessee. Jason Cole and Will Copes used to reside in Mississippi, Baker said. Elijah Cole's mother lives in Tennessee.
In a brief news release this morning, Baker didn't indicate where the Sixes Elementary student was found.
All he said was that "the father and the family friend are currently being questioned by investigators. Will provide more details this afternoon."
• • •
The custody arrangement for Elijah Cole and brother Tyler Cole is not clear in court records. Monday, Baker said Elijah Cole lived with his dad and grandmother in BridgeMill.
According to an arrest affidavit and the indictment, it is in that Canton subdivision that something happened to Elijah and Tyler Cole on the afternoon of March 10, 2011.
Jason Cole was arrested, jailed, then released on a host of conditions, namely that he stay away from Elijah and Tyler Cole and a home in the 300 block of Downing Creek Trail. It's not clear when—or if—that order was ever lifted.
A Cherokee County grand jury didn't indict Jason Cole until earlier this year on charges of battery and simple battery under the Family Violence Act as well as cruelty to children, one in the second degree and another third degree.
Ultimately, according to court records, the latter charges were dropped.
Stay with Canton-Sixes Patch for updates on this story.