SPRINGFIELD TWP, Ohio (FOX19) - Springfield Township police say they’ve arrested the father of a 3-year-old girl who went missing Sunday night and was found Monday morning.
Springfield Township police say 33-year-old Jeramie Turner is charged with one count of endangering children and one count of obstructing official business. The criminal complaint says Turner left his 3-year-old child unattended in a vacant residence for approximately 14 hours.
Turner is being held at the Hamilton County Justice Center. He appeared in court Tuesday morning where bond was set at $300,000.
Janilya Turner, 3, was reported missing by her mother around 9:20 p.m. Sunday. She was found in what relatives say was a vacant apartment near her home on Meredith Drive just after 8:15 a.m. Monday. Relatives say Janilya’s uncle kicked in the door and broke some windows of the apartment when someone heard the little girl’s cries.
“Life and matter situation. This is my niece. So, you know, I kicked down the window, bust it all out, grabbed her, made it here to safety,” said Joshua Green.
“We’re never going to give up. I would have been looking for her for the rest of my life. You know, and my son, he didn’t stop. He got out here like at 4 o’clock in the morning and he went through every bush, every dumpster, every garbage can and he kept going until he found her," said Janet Green, Janilya’s great aunt.
She was taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital as a precaution.
Detectives continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding Janilya’s disappearance. Springfield Township Police Chief Rob Browder said the toddler was last seen in the area of the 1500 block of Meredith Drive in the Lexington Heights area about 9 p.m. Sunday. She was last seen wearing pink pajamas with snowflakes. Springfield Township police and the Hamilton County Urban Search & Rescue team spent several hours late Sunday and early Monday searching the area of Meredith Drive and Hamilton Avenue.
All but one officer left the scene by 6 a.m. They did not say why.
The girl’s tearful mother called 911 Sunday night to report her daughter missing, according to a recording of the call released Monday. She asked the dispatcher if there were any reports of a missing child because her daughter may have opened the screen door and wandered off about 20 minutes prior, according to the recording. Janyila knows how to open the door but doesn’t usually wander off, the mother reported.
The dispatcher asked if the toddler had ever left before.
“No,” the mother responded, according to the recording. “Sometimes she plays hide and seek but we always find her."
FOX19 has learned that a woman has been in the process of moving into the apartment where the 3-year-old was found for a few days now. On Sunday around 6 p.m., that woman’s family says they were moving stuff in, and at the time, the thermostat wasn’t working. Just a few doors down, they say they saw the 3-year-old’s father sitting outside with two children, including Janiyla.
The woman’s family says they asked Jeramie Turner for help with the thermostat. They say when he left about 30 minutes later, they locked the apartment with no idea the 3-year-old was still inside.
They believe it may have been an honest mistake on Jeramie Turner’s part.
“I thought he had the baby because he had her at first... because he was holding her at first but he put her down when he got in... so I am thinking her picked her up and walked toward the house because he was already out of the house when I locked up the house and everything,” said Te’lisha Williams.
FOX19 NOW is told the air was working in the apartment when they left Sunday evening, so the girl had air conditioning through the night.