Officials: Cherokee County couple charged with murder in daughter’s death also hoarding animals on their property
GAFFNEY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller says crews from SLED were out at a home on Camp Ferry Road in Gaffney Tuesday afternoon to gather more evidence in what they say is the worst case of child abuse and neglect they’ve ever seen in the area. Teams executed a second search warrant in hopes of finding what they needed to build their case.
“You’re in an environment where you have feces, both human and cats and dogs,” the Sheriff told FOX Carolina. “Then in addition to that, just the dirt and trash that had piled up there, and maggots, flies and roaches.”
Along with law enforcement, Mueller says the Humane Society had their hands full as well, in yet another shocking twist to this case.
“We had a large number of dogs that were there,” he explained.
In total, around 37 dogs and cats were rescued from the same home where officials say parents David and Bobbie Jo Baynard neglected to care for their 14-year-old disabled daughter, Heather, ultimately leading to her death.
The couple are still behind bars on murder charges for Heather’s death as of the publishing of this article.
The Cherokee County Animal Shelter has told us they were the ones who received this influx animals from the property, and that all 37 dogs and cats were in bad shape upon arrival--infested with fleas, ticks, and more.
“With that many dogs, there needed to be some coordination to make sure we had a safe place to get them, and it took time to gather them all up,” the Sheriff said, explaining there were still some animals crews couldn’t get to, but will be returning for.
This isn’t the first time David Bobbie Jo Baynard have been in trouble with animals.
“Back in 2004, there were some charges for ill treatment of animals,” Sheriff Mueller said. That’s why he adds that more charges--in addition to murder--are coming.
The Sheriff says their agencies are committed to nursing the animals seized back to full health and finding them loving homes. But he says their primary focus is still the 14-year-old girl, Heather, who passed away from what the coroner says is a direct result of the care she received in that Camp Ferry Road home.
Coroner Dennis Fowler also telling FOX Carolina evidence suggests that David and Bobbie Jo didn’t seek care for their daughter’s various health problems for many months, possibly more than a year.
Crews back out there Tuesday were wearing Tyvek suits and respirators because of the horrible conditions in and around the home.
“Waking up and being in that environment every single morning, to me it’s just unfathomable,” Mueller said.
The Sheriff adds that the more they uncover, the more convinced he becomes.
“Based off everything I know--the totality of the circumstances--there’s no doubt in my mind that all that together contributed to her death,” he said.
FOX Carolina is working to learn more about why exactly SLED was out at the property. Meanwhile Baynard family members and relatives we’ve spoken to say maintain their belief that the couple is innocent and would never intentionally harm their daughter.
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX Carolina for updates.
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