Parents, sister of missing teen arrested
By B.J. Williams
CORNELIA - The 13-year-old Habersham County boy who went missing overnight Monday is now in protective custody and his parents and sister are in jail.
The teen, whose name has not been released, went missing around 5:30 p.m. Monday and was located just before 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Hazel Creek community.
Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell said the teen had some bruises and marks on his neck and back unrelated to the night he spent outdoors. The sheriff said the teen told him he was being "hit on" at home.
"The statement from the parents was that his sister hit him with a ruler and that's why he left [home]," said Terrell.
Terrell said after the teen was interviewed by child welfare advocates, authorities arrested the boy's father Richard Scott Burton, 49, and his mother Cheryle Lynn Burton, 50. Richard Burton has been charged with four counts of cruelty to children in the second degree and obstruction. Cheryle Burton also has been charged with four counts of cruelty to children in the second degree as well as a charge of influencing a witness.
"Then there's been a 17-year-old in the house that was arrested, Jamie Lynn Burton," said Terrell. "She's been charged with aggravated assault, cruelty to children in the second degree and terroristic threats and acts."
Terrell said there were other siblings in the home; all have been placed in state custody through the Department of Family and Childrens Services.
Originally, the boy was reported to be autistic, but Terrell said he could not confirm that report.
Terrell said the investigation is ongoing.