Couple accused in toddler’s death now facing meth charges

Photos of Breanna J. Arnold (left) and Zachary S. Barnes (right) as they walk into court on Thursday, January 22, 2015.

BLUFFTON, Ind. (WANE) The couple who are already facing multiple felony charges in connection with the death of a 3-year-old boy whose body was found burned in a woods in rural Wells County were both charged late Wednesday with another felony; Dealing in Methamphetamine.

Breanna Arnold, 21, was the mother of the victim, Owen Collins. Zachary Barnes, 30, is her boyfriend. Both are scheduled back in court on February 9 for an initial hearing on the drug charge and for a request to have their bond increased. A juvenile, only identified in court documents as “Face” is also facing a felony charge of abuse of a corpse.

Details of the case

Collins’ body was found January 18 by police after he had been reported missing.

According to information gathered by police after interviewing the three suspects, they were all “shooting dope” in their Normandy Drive home Friday night into Saturday morning. When Arnold went into the back bedroom on Saturday to check on 3-year-old Owen Collins and his 6-year-old-brother, Owen was dead.

Barnes admitted to police that they would sometimes put “dope in [the children’s] bottles and watch them have fun.”

After finding Owen dead, Barnes said he suggested they get rid of him.

Police found the body of 3-year-old Owen Collins in a woods about 12 miles away from his home.
Police found the body of 3-year-old Owen Collins in a woods about 12 miles away from his home.

Barnes and the teen told police they wrapped the child in plastic wrap and placed him into a dresser drawer. On Sunday morning, he and the teenager put Owen in a cardboard box and got a ride from a woman to Marion. The woman told police Barnes put the cardboard box into the back seat. The woman said she didn’t know what was in the box.

Police were told that Before arriving in Marion, the three stopped at a woods and Barnes and the teen dropped off the box with Collins in it. Barnes said he poured nail polish on the box and set it on fire.

While in Marion, Barnes spoke to his brother, Joseph Barnes, and told him that Owen had gone missing. Joseph Barnes called the Wells County Sheriff’s Department and asked if any children had been reported missing. None had, but the Wells County Sheriff’s Department said they would look into Owen’s disappearance.

Mug shots of  Zachary S. Barnes and Breanna J. Arnold courtesy the Wells County Sheriff's Department.
Mug shots of Zachary S. Barnes and Breanna J. Arnold courtesy the Wells County Sheriff’s Department.

Police arrived at the Normandy Drive home around 12:30 p.m. Owen was nowhere to be found. Officers took Arnold to the police station with her 6-year-old son, where she signed consent forms allowing police to search the home.

Meanwhile, Marion Police were asked to help track down Barnes and they were able to locate the car with Barnes, the teenager and the woman who had given them a ride that morning.

After explaining what she knew, the woman went with officers to help them find the area where Owen’s body had been taken. She is not facing charges.

The cause of Owen’s death has not yet been determined as the coroner is awaiting the results of toxicology tests.

Current charges faced by Barnes and Arnold

  • Neglect of a dependent resulting in death – level 1 felony
  • Two counts of neglect of a dependent – level 5 felony
  • Obstruction of justice – level 6 felony
  • Altering the scene of death – level 6 felony
  • Abuse of a corpse – level 6 felony
  • Dealing in Methamphetamine – level 4 felony

Both are currently being held on $300,000 bond, however a judge could decide to increase that when they appear in court in February.

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