BULLITT COUNTY, KY (WAVE) – Bullitt County sheriff Donnie Tinnell said Monday he remained suspicious about the circumstances surrounding 2-year-old Charlee Campbell's disappearance and her return.
Charlee was reported missing from her grandparent's home in the 600 block of Winding Hollow Road at 10 a.m. on June 7.
Tinnell said five FBI agents came to assist with interviewing the family. He explained that one hour after the agents arrived and searched Charlee's grandparent's home on Friday that Penny, the family's pitbull, returned home. Shortly after that, Wayne Brown said Charlee appeared the back porch of his home on Roy Lane.
"The dog came in that residence and the fireman that seen the dog told me that it was as clean as if it'd just come out of someone's home, it didn't look like it'd been in that wood for no 36 hours," Tinnell said.
He added: "He (the dog) didn't come home until Friday evening and he shows up at the house at the same time she shows up at the house up on the top of the hill, and it's a good distance apart. So how did that happen and why did that happen – it's really suspicious to me."
Tinnell has openly said he believes the case started due to a custody dispute. Monday, he stated he believes there is a dispute between Charlee's mother, Natalie Quick, and grandmother, Beth Campbell.
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"There's a custody issue between mother and grandmother I suspect maybe there's something going on we don't know about yet and I hope to find out. The little girl had scratches on her feet, dirty feet, and ticks on her and she was in those woods for some period of time. It didn't indicate to me that she was there for 36 hours."
Brown stated that once Charlee was let into his home he gave her some water and she threw up. Tinnell said once he picked Charlee up from Brown's home he also tried to give her water three times and she threw up each time.
Charlee was not wearing a diaper or her pajama bottoms when she was found. Over the weekend, crews searched for both items but were not successful.
Charlee was taken to Norton's Children Hospital. She has since been released to Child Protective Services. A forensic evaluation was performed. Tinnell said he asked if information about whether any sexual assault occurred and whether the contents of her stomach could be analyzed.
Tinnell explained that Charlee can unlock the door to the family's home. He also said she often walks down the driveway and gets candy from the mailman.
Tinnell said search warrants have been requested on the family's phones.
The case is currently not a criminal investigation.
Tinnell said he believes neglect by Beth Campbell played a part as well, and that he may serve her a criminal summons.
"Accidents happen," Beth Campbell said. "It's not because this baby is not well taken care of and loved."
Tinnell said meth was being smoked by Beth's cousin Robert Bailey and possibly her in the house the morning Charlee went missing.
Tinnell said and that Beth waited an hour and half before calling 911.
"She said, well, I just got busy and distracted," Tinnell said, when questioning her why it took so long to call police.
"I plan on being at the hearing when they have a hearing about custody issues, I know there's some good people in that family that's responsible and can take care of that child. Who's going to get custody, I have no idea, but I just pray that she has family that would care for her and take care of her and she'll be OK," Tinnell said. "The good news is we found her and she's safe and taken care of and being fed – that's the good news and that trumps everything for me."