A Sequatchie County woman who allegedly abandoned two boys who are ages 9 and 11 is in custody.
Nichole Shirlene Manery, 31, turned herself in at the Sequatchie County Justice Center at about 1:30 p.m. CST.
On Sunday at about 1 p.m., officers with the Dunlap Police Department and the Sequatchie County Sheriff’s Office responded with members of the Dunlap Volunteer Fire Department to a brush fire in the area of 49 Old State Highway 8. While on the scene officers learned that the blaze had been set by a nine-year-old boy who lived in the area.
Officers went to the child’s home to speak with the parents, and it was at that point they discovered that the nine-year-old and his 11-year-old brother had been abandoned by their mother for at least three days.
There was an adult uncle living in the home, but he is handicapped and mentally challenged to such a degree that the boys were actually trying to care for him, authorities said. There was no food anywhere in the residence, no phone available, and the children had no money. They reported to officers that they had eaten one meal, bologna sandwiches, in the three days they had been alone. One officer immediately went to buy food for the victims while the others investigated.
Authorities said Ms. Marney reportedly left with her boyfriend, identified as 30-year-old Christopher Pugh, three days earlier. The pair were believed to be traveling in a black 1976 Chevy pickup truck bearing Tennessee tag number 104-TDS, and possibly in the Hamilton County area.
In addition to the neglect and abandonment, officers also discovered both illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia lying in plain view inside the residence, it was stated.
The children were released to Child Protective Services, while the search continues for Nichole Marney.
Warrants are on file through the Sequatchie County General Sessions Court for Ms. Marney for two counts of child abuse, neglect and endangerment and one count each for simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Charges are also on file for Christopher Pugh for simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
No charges were filed against the nine-year-old boy in regards to the fire.