According to documentation at the Clay County Courthouse, Zachariah Joseph Jones, 20, Brazil, and Chelsea Rose Gallagher, 18, Greencastle, have appeared in Clay Superior Court to be formally charged by the Clay County Prosecutor's Office for their alleged involvement in an Aug. 19 incident, which, according to case documents, coincided with Jones' 20th birthday.
Both appeared in court Tuesday.
Gallagher, appearing by video conference, was charged with a class D felony neglect of a dependent, class A misdemeanor taking a minor to a nuisance and class B misdemeanor visiting a common nuisance. Attorney Matthew Effner was appointed as defense counsel. A $7,000 cash bond (with 10 percent allowed) was established for Gallagher, who bonded out on Wednesday to await further court proceedings.
Superior Court Judge Blaine Akers established no contact orders in both cases, and tentatively scheduled both Jones and Gallagher's jury trials for Jan. 10.
According to the Clay County Sheriff's Department press release, deputies responded to a complaint of suspicious activity and a request to check on the welfare of an unidentified infant in room 10 of Villa Motel sometime before 5:30 a.m., Aug. 19.
Initially unable to get anyone inside the room to answer the door, deputies looked inside the window and could see Gallagher lying on the bed, apparently unresponsive to the repeated knocking that woke neighbors.
Also, in plain sight on a nearby nightstand, officials could see what appeared to be marijuana, remnants of burnt marijuana cigarettes, various devices commonly used to smoke marijuana as well as a half empty bottle of Captain Morgan.
Deputies reported an infant child was sleeping in a car seat carrier near the door.
When Gallagher finally opened the door, deputies reported the "overwhelming odor of burnt marijuana enveloped" them.
While speaking with Gallagher, Jones and two juvenile suspects, who was reported present in the room earlier, returned to the motel.
The two unidentified 17-year-old juveniles were detained on allegations of delinquency involving visiting/maintaining a common nuisance. No information is available regarding the outcome of the juvenile cases due to privacy issues.
The 1-month-old child was released into the custody of a family member after Child Protective Services requested the child be medically evaluated.
No further information is available due to the ongoing investigation.