A Scioto County child is safe at home following a harrowing experience in southwestern Ohio, thanks to the compassionate assistance of members of the Norwood, Ohio Police Department and several other law enforcement agencies.
Norwood Police Lieutenant Ron Murphy said, in the process, two Lucasville men, William Bauer, 29 and Derek Bender, also 29, were arrested.
Murphy told the Daily Times on Monday, Norwood Police were contacted by a citizen reporting a suspicious vehicle in the 5100 block of Rolston Avenue in Norwood. He said the caller believed the occupants of the vehicle were involved in drug activity, prompting police officers Erik Nelson and Kenneth Devers to respond to the area.
Upon arrival, the officers said they located a vehicle matching the description given by the caller. When the officers approached the vehicle, they said they observed Bauer and Bender with drug paraphernalia in plain view.
“They were placed under arrest for drug paraphernalia,.” Murphy said. “They searched the vehicle and they found bulk amounts of heroin, prescription pills and more drug paraphernalia in the car.”
Murphy said, in addition to the two men, there was a 12 year old girl, a cousin to Bauer, in the back seat.
“She (child) was under the assumption they were coming to the greater Cincinnati area to go to a shopping mall,” Murphy said. “At some point, I guess, they decided to stop and buy these drugs.”
Murphy said, after the two were arrested and transported to the Hamilton County Justice Center. That is when the humanity of the Norwood Police officers caused them to go above and beyond the call of duty.
“Instead of involving our Child Protective Services of Hamilton County, and the girl having to basically be taken to the Justice Center and waiting for a family member to come and get her, who was grandmother, Sergeant Mark Vickers decided just to do this exchange,” Murphy said. “We contacted Clermont County and asked if we could meet them at their western border and our eastern border, and they said, ‘sure,’ so then they proceeded from Clermont to Brown County to Adams County and then the (Ohio) Highway Patrol took her the last leg.”
The transportation was made possible with the coordinated help of several law enforcement agencies, including the Clermont, Brown, and Adams County Sheriff’s Offices, as well as the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Bauer was charged with endangering children, a misdemeanor first degree, possession of drug abuse instruments a misdemeanor fourth degree, possession of heroin, a felony second degree, and two counts of drug trafficking, a felony of the fourth degree and a felony of the first degree.
Bender was charged with endangering children, a first degree misdemeanor, and possession of drug abuse instruments, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
“We tell our officers that you can always do the right thing,” Murphy said. “Our chief always says, if you’re doing the right thing and something happens, I’ll back you. We leave it up to them to make decisions like this. Five years ago , 10 years ago, we would have just called Child Protective Services and told them to come and pick her up. But it was really nice that everybody was able to help out. We were able to get this little girl home within two hours.”
Sergeant John Howard of the Portsmouth Post of the OSHP said serving the public is utmost in the minds of troopers.
“The division’s standpoint is that we have always believed that we are public servants and that we always want to put the community’s needs at the top,” Howard said.
Murphy said, without the willingness of these agencies to go above and beyond to help this young girl, she would have been stranded in that area for an extended time. Norwood Police officials also took the time to thank those agencies, and remind citizens to be vigilant for suspicious activity and to notify them with any drug tips. He said information from citizens played a large role in the arrests.