Missing baby found in Otway well, parents to go before grand jury

Tom Corrigan - [email protected]

OTWAY – The parents of a six-month-old baby boy, whose body law enforcement officials say was found at the bottom of an approximately 30-foot well Wednesday, made their first court appearances Thursday morning.

According to Scioto County Sheriff’s Capt. John Murphy, Daniel Groves, 41, and Jessica Groves, 39, appeared in Portsmouth Municipal Court. Both also waived their rights to a preliminary hearing. Essentially, that means their case will now be presented to a Scioto County Grand Jury. Murphy further stated the case will now move to the Scioto County Court of Common Pleas, adding both suspects could be in front of a grand jury in a matter of days.

Daniel and Jessica Groves face kidnapping and abduction charges in connection with the disappearance of their son, Dylan Groves. Daniel Groves faces further charges of theft and receiving stolen property, according to the county sheriff’s office.

Late Wednesday evening, sheriff’s officials reported they had found the body of Dylan Groves inside a well in Otway. A more specific location of the well was not released. Dylan’s body reportedly was sent to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy.

Murphy stated officials searched the well based on information they had received from an undisclosed source in the course of the ongoing investigation into what happened to Dylan Groves.

After he was born with illicit drugs in his system, the county initially took custody of the child. However, officials allowed his biological father to regain custody of his son after he met all requirements for family reunification as requested by officials.

In a statement released Wednesday, Murphy stated after the county first returned Dylan to his father, the father was compliant with all requirements set forth by children services. However, Murphy further said after an unspecified amount of time, the father started missing court dates, along with home and doctor visits for Dylan. Children services made several attempts to locate young Dylan but with no success.

According to Murphy on May 3, Scioto County Children Services enlisted the help of the sheriff’s office in finding the boy. In an initial press release given out Wednesday afternoon, Murphy stated “a caseworker was advised of what paperwork was needed from juvenile court in order to (sic) forcible enter the dwelling on the property.”

The property referred to presumably is the Groves’ home at 2241 Mt. Hope Rd., Otway. On Wednesday evening, Murphy sent out what he called a “corrected press release.” The release did not contain any reference to the county’s supposed inability to obtain paperwork from the juvenile court. When asked about why that line was removed, Murphy said it was done inadvertently. He said he had no information on the county being unable to obtain any paperwork. He added the sheriff’s office, Scioto County Children Services and the local courts all put considerable joint effort into trying to find young Dylan Groves.

Neither juvenile court officials nor county children services responded to requests for comment regarding the case of Dylan Groves by late Thursday afternoon.

Murphy said his department’s investigation, including interviews with both suspects, has led officials to believe Dylan Groves died sometime in March.

According to both press releases, Murphy said deputies did visit 2241 Mt. Hope Road after being contacted by children services, but they reported it appeared no one was home. Deputies apparently returned to the residence multiple times without success in locating either Dylan or his parents. The releases noted children services as well as the Scioto County Juvenile Court also were involved.

On May 20, Sheriff Chief Deputy Todd Miller and Murphy responded to the Mt. Hope location in yet another attempt to locate Dylan. According to Murphy, the two spotted Daniel and Jessica Groves attempting to leave the area on a four-wheeler, resulting in a pursuit with the two disappearing into some nearby woods and eluding officers.

Finally, on Monday, after a meeting with the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office and Scioto County Juvenile Court, detectives obtained a search warrant for the Mt. Hope address. Murphy said sheriff’s office detectives along with the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force executed the search warrant. Officials removed Jessica Groves from the property without incident, while Daniel Groves barricaded himself inside.

At that point, the sheriff’s office requested assistance from the Ohio State Highway Patrol special response team, to include their aviation unit. Officials finally apprehended Daniel Groves after a six-hour standoff with law enforcement.

Murphy stated during their search of the Groves’ home, law enforcement officials allegedly recovered numerous stolen items to include two four wheelers, two stolen traders, a riding lawnmower, a camper and other items valued at a total of $42,000.

At the hearing for Daniel Groves on Wednesday, the presiding judge reportedly revoked the suspects probation. Daniel Groves had been on probation for of theft charge. A probation hearing is set for June 20.

According to the website of the Scioto County Court of Common Pleas, Daniel Groves previously was facing charges of grand theft, receiving stolen property and obstructing official business. Groves apparently was to appear in court to face those charges in May but allegedly skipped that appearance. For whatever reason, the court website lists the case as closed. Scioto County Prosecutor Shane Tieman who is handling the case was unavailable for comment on the case Thursday afternoon.

Tom Corrigan

[email protected]

Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370- 0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370- 0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.