A Carter County Detention Center officer found himself on the other side of jail's bars Tuesday night after sheriff's department deputies arrested him on pending child abuse charges.
Undersheriff Milton Anthony said John W. Owen, 31, was taken into custody without incident at his rural Ardmore residence. He was immediately booked into the CCDC.
"He was booked in and detained like anyone else," Anthony said.
Owen became the target of a sheriff's department investigation about 5:25 p.m. Tuesday. The probe revolved around injuries to a 5-year-old boy.
"We received a referral from the Department of Human Services, and met a DHS (child welfare) worker there (Owen's rural residence). The child had choke marks and scratches around his neck," Anthony explained, confirming the incident that led to the investigation is believed to have happened within the past few days.
"The mother had apparently been at work at the time. The bruising started showing up, which led to questions about what happened," he said, adding the jailer had made admissions concerning the child's injuries.
Court documents indicate Owen currently faces a single misdemeanor charge of domestic assault and battery. He made an initial appearance in district court Wednesday afternoon. Bond was set at $2,000. A CCDC spokesperson said shortly after 5 p.m. Owen had posted bond and had been released pending the outcome of the case.
However, Anthony said the investigation revealed two other children were also present at the time the other child was injured. While both "appeared" initially to be unharmed, the case remains open and the investigation is continuing.
Meanwhile, Owen has been fired from his job as a detention center officer.
"We will not — cannot — put up with this kind of behavior," said Sheriff Ken Grace.
"When you do these kinds of jobs, you are held to a higher standard," Anthony clarified while discussing the decision to release Owen from employment at the CCDC.