Court docs: Indiana couple put meth in 3-year-old boy’s drink before he died

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Breanna Arnold (left) and Zachary Barnes (right)

BLUFFTON (Jan. 23, 2015) – Prosecutors filed formal charges Thursday against a northeastern Indiana couple accused in the death of a 3-year-old boy.

Charges against Zachary Barnes, 30, and Breanna Arnold, 21, include neglect of a dependent resulting in death, neglect of a dependent, abuse of a corpse, obstruction of justice and altering the scene of a death.

Arnold’s son, 3-year-old Owen Collins, was reported missing last week. A body was found in a wooded area Sunday presumed to be the boy.

According to court documents, Arnold, Barnes and a 16-year-old were using meth Friday night before the boy’s death.

In an interview, Barnes said Owen was found dead while they were in a “bedroom shooting dope.” Arnold went to check on Owen and another child when she found him.

Barnes told police that he suggested they get rid of the boy. They wrapped his remains in plastic and put him in a dresser drawer in the bedroom. He said no one called for help because they were afraid they’d get in trouble.

Barnes also said they had “put dope in the children’s drinks and watched them ‘have fun.’”

Panic set in after Owen was found dead. The 16-year-old told police that he didn’t know what to do. He said “Arnold and Barnes told him that they would take care of this,” court documents said. They considered “chopping him up and throwing him in the river,” the teen said.

Instead, they put the boy in a box and took him to a wooded area in Wells County, where they set it on fire after dousing it with nail polish.

They made up a story that Owen was missing in hopes of deflecting blame, prosecutors said.

A woman who was unaware of the boy’s death picked Barnes and the teen up and drove them from Marion, Ind., to Wells County. Once she heard about the case, she led investigators to the boy’s remains.

The teen is charged with a count of abuse of a corpse.

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