Gruesome details surrounding the tragic death of a toddler are emerging, with one of the suspects in the child's death reportedly revealing to police that he and 3-year-old Owen Collins's mother would put "dope in [her kids'] bottles and watch them have fun."
A police search commenced for Collins over the weekend after he was reported missing, though authorities now believe that the child was actually dead inside of the Bluffton, Indiana, home for almost a day before being put inside of a box and set on fire in the woods. His body was found by cops on Sunday evening, WANE-TV reported.
Collins' mother, Breanna Arnold, 21, and Zachary Barnes, 30, were arrested and preliminarily charged with abuse of a corpse and neglect of a dependent. An unnamed 16-year-old who had reportedly been living with them and acting as a babysitter for the two children was also detained and charged with abusing a corpse; formal charges have not yet been filed.
Barnes reportedly later told police that he and Arnold, who also has a 6-year-old son, would put "dope in [the children’s] bottles and watch them have fun." Meth-making materials were found inside the home, though it is unclear if drugs played a role in the child's death.
Arnold, Barnes and the teen were allegedly "shooting dope" on Friday and Saturday. And when the mother went to check on Collins on Saturday, that's when she discovered that he had died.
At that point, the three reportedly decided to place the child in plastic wrap and put him inside of a dresser drawer, WANE-TV reported.
It was later that the teen allegedly accompanied Barnes 12 miles away into the woods, where the toddler's body was placed in a box and burned.
After disposing of the body, Barnes told police that he went to his brother's home and reported Collins missing, which is what led the Wells County Sheriff’s Department to begin searching for the boy.
If those details aren't shocking enough, the teenager also reportedly told police that there was talk of chopping Collins up and "throwing him in the river" before the decision to burn his body in the woods was made.
It could take up to two weeks to determine a cause of death.