Missing 2-year-old found sitting on tractor, grandfather charged

Missing 2-year-old found sitting on tractor, grandfather charged

GREENE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - A grandfather in Greene County is facing charges after authorities say he endangered the lives of two children he was supposed to be watching.

Deputies were called to a residence in the 2100-block of Greene County Road 624 Friday just after 3 p.m.

The 911 call was for a missing two-year-old boy.

Deputy Kaleb Pitcher reported two dogs were running loose in the yard as he arrived at the home. The deputy said a gray pit bull growled at him a number of times as he made his way to the door.

Pitcher stated he drew his weapon and aimed it at the dog after the animal kept walking and growling at him as he was knocking on the door. Once it was about five to six feet away, the deputy shot the dog dead when it started to jump at him.

After that incident, he continued looking for the child.

Deputy Mike Wess also arrived at the scene and learned 52-year-old Paul Hearn had called and said his grandson wondered off as he was cleaning the inside of his house.

Wess asked for more information about the boy but did not receive any since Hearn did not have a cell phone. He had apparently made the call while picking up another grandson, six-years-old, from a bus stop in town. The boy is the brother of the missing child.

As the deputies and the Greene County Rescue Squad was searching the area, a neighbor pulled up and said the child was sitting on a tractor on her property located on Greene County Road 625. The neighbor was concerned the boy might have "gotten into their electric fence."

Wess reported the child appeared to be "extremely frightened," had dirt all over his face, and had tears running down his face.

The rescue squad took the boy to meet an ambulance crew at a nearby church.

Hearn came speeding up to the yard with the six-year-old inside. A reserve deputy told Wess that Hearn was "driving crazy" and almost hit her while passing her on the gravel road.

The child was left in the care of another relative to meet up with his brother at the hospital. The Arkansas Department of Human Services was notified and planned to meet Pitcher at the hospital where the children were to be turned over to the agency.

Wess ran Hearn's information and found he was driving with a suspended license.

Hearn was eventually arrested for first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor, second-degree endangering the welfare of a minor, and driving on a suspended or revoked license.

He was taken to the Greene County Detention Center.

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