At approximately 7:00 a.m. today, Diana and Samuel Franklin, of 783 East Old Wire Road, Butler, Georgia, were arrested in an ongoing GBI Child Abuse Investigation requested by Taylor County Sheriff Jeff Watson.
On July 8th, Superior Court Judge Frank Jordan issued Arrest Warrants charging Diana Franklin with 12 counts of 1st Degree Cruelty to Children and 4 counts of False Imprisonment. Judge Jordan also issued Arrest Warrants for Samuel Franklin charging him with 8 counts of 1st Degree Cruelty to Children and 8 counts of False Imprisonment. Following the arrests, the Franklins were transported to the Taylor County Jail.
The arrests stem from a May 25th discovery by representatives of the Taylor County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS). DFCS received information that a child was being abused at the Franklin residence. The information indicated that the abuse included locking the child in a storage building, chicken coup and outhouse for days at a time. During the May 25th visit, DFCS personnel found sufficient cause to seek a temporary custody order. A temporary custody order was issued by Juvenile Court Judge Wayne Jernigan, Sr. and the child was removed from the home the same day. The order has been extended on at least one occasion and remains in effect.
After the May 25th finding, Taylor County Sheriff Jeff Watson contacted the Region 2 - Columbus office to request GBI assistance. Special Agent in Charge Wayne Smith assigned Child Abuse Specialist Leigh Brooks to head the investigation. Agent Brooks formally opened the case on May 30th. In addition to conducting interviews with potential witnesses and reviewing relevant documentation, the GBI executed a Search Warrant at the Franklin home on Monday, June 4, 2012.
The investigation remains active and no other information is being released at this time.
Once finished, the GBI will provide a Case Report to the office of Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Julia Slater for review and any prosecutorial action deemed appropriate.