DILLONVALE, Ohio -- A traffic stop led to the discovery of a meth lab and a case of severe child abuse and landed two people in jail, police in Jefferson County said.
Wells Township police said the investigation started when they pulled over a silver Chevrolet Cavalier Thursday night for a turn signal violation on state Route 7 around 5:10 p.m. Thursday. Inside, police said they discovered 44 grams of crystal meth, marijuana and two handguns.
During the search, the driver, 34-year-old Ryan Neal Custer, told police that there was a child who was in danger.
"After interviewing the subjects in the car, we find out that there is possibly child neglect or child abuse going on in the house this gentleman lives in," said Wells Township Police Chief John Ingram.
Police then headed to a home on Coss Street in Dillonvale. When they arrived, Ingram said they found a 1-year-old girl with "severe burns to its private areas." Officials said the girl was severely injured, dehydrated, filthy and had a fever of 103 degrees.
Furthermore, when K-9 units arrived at the home, one of the police dogs ran to an abandoned house behind the home and found a meth lab.
Ingram said the meth lab could be the largest every found in Jefferson County, and Drug Enforcement Agency officials from Youngstown said it may be one of the biggest in the state.
Custer's girlfriend and the baby's mother, 21-year-old Samantha Burch, was arrested on pending child abuse charges. Custer was arrested pending charges of possessing meth.
Currently, police said their main concern is the baby's condition. She has second- and third-degree burns, but police said they did not know how she was burned. Police said the alleged abuse happened at 821 1/2 Second St. in Brilliant.
The baby was initially transported to East Ohio Regional Hospital then transferred the burn unit at Columbus Children's Hospital, where she remained Friday.
"Just pray for the baby," Ingram said.
On Friday, Wells Township police, Dillonvale police, the Jefferson County Drug Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Agency and Ohio Department of Job & Family Services officials were gathering details. Police said they plan to talk to the Jefferson County prosecutor on Friday and said additional charges and more arrests could be forthcoming.