Commonwealth Journal

August 30, 2013

Four people involved in child’s injury in custody

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — All four individuals involved in a recent incident that could have resulted in a child’s death have been taken into custody.

On Thursday, Brian K. Herrin, 36, was arrested by the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, marking the last of the quartet to be located by authorities.

Brittany N. Helton, 24, and Curtis W. Anderson. 23, the parents of the child in question, were taken in by sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday, while Krystal E. Hampton, 26, was arrested Wednesday afternoon.

Each of these individuals — all of whom live on South U.S. 27, Loop 4 in Burnside — have been charges with second-degree controlled substance endangerment to a child, a Class B felony.

Herrin has also been charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, first offense, also a Class B felony.

Pulaski County Sheriff Todd Wood said that Herrin was found at an address on Caney Branch Road. “It was one of the locations (detectives) were checking that he happened to be at,” he said.

On Wednesday, sheriff’s units along with members of the U.S. Marshall’s Fugitive Task Force located Hampton at the residence of Thomas Joe Smart on Ky. 92 in McCreary County.

Both suspects were arrested without incident.  Wood said that Smart was not involved in the incident, and no one has been found to have harbored the suspects or tried to conceal them from investigators.

On Wednesday, August 21, just after midnight, the 20-month-old child was transported by Anderson, his father, to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital for treatment of burns to the mouth, face, and chest, according to the sheriff’s office. The child was treated in the emergency room and then flown to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington for treatment of the injuries.

Initial fears were that the child had ingested the acid, potentially leading to death, according to the sheriff’s office, but during treatment, doctors discovered that the acid had barely entered the mouth, burning the child’s lips, then spilled onto his chest and splashed onto his legs. This caused serious burns, but was not life-threatening.

An investigation by the sheriff’s Patrol Division, Criminal Investigation Division, Narcotics Division and the Department for Community Based Services was initiated after the 20-month-old was treated at UK, and several interviews were conducted with the mother and father of the child.

As a result, authorities were able to piece together what they believe to be the events leading to the incident. During the evening hours of August 20, the child’s mother, Helton, allegedly took the child to the residence of Herrin, a neighbor. During that visit, the child picked a cup up off a table that contained what was reported to be “liquid fire.” The child attempted to drink from the cup, which led to the acid burning the child’s mouth and lips. The child then dropped the cup, which led to it spilling on his chest and down onto his legs, according to the sheriff’s department.

Immediately following the incident, Herrin and his friend Hampton allegedly fled the scene. A search warrant executed at the Herrin residence turned up several items used to manufacture methamphetamine, including muriatic acid, batteries, tubing, salt, and acetone, according to the sheriff’s department.

Wood said that both parents were cooperative and “did appear to be somewhat remorseful” during interviews.

He added that based on the investigations, it appeared that Helton and Hampton were aware that methamphetamine was being manufactured at the residence.

Hampton and Herrin are scheduled to appear to Pulaski District Court today, while Anderson and Helton are scheduled for September 4.