Athens County couple convicted after not showing up for trial

Fannon, Thompson found guilty of endangering child, permitting abuse

Photos courtesy of the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office Kayla Ann Fannon, left, and Samuel A. Thompson are shown in photos from 2010 and 2007, respectively.

ATHENS, Ohio — Authorities are searching for a man and woman convicted this week of child endangerment and permitting abuse.

Kayla Ann Fannon, 26, and Samuel A. Thompson, 31, both of Nelsonville, were each found guilty Wednesday of a second-degree felony count of endangering children and third-degree felony counts of endangering children and permitting child abuse, according to a release from the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office.

The verdict came a day after Athens County Common Pleas Court Judge George P. McCarthy granted a prosecution motion to continue with the trial in the defendants’ absence, after they failed to appear for court on Friday, May 12.

The case began after Fannon took the child to an emergency room on March 1, 2014, and the girl was transported to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said in a news release.

The couple caused serious physical harm to the girl over the first four-and-a-half months of her life, he said.

“It was found that the infant had in excess of 25 broken bones to her ribs, legs, fingers, arms, toes, shoulders and multiple skull fractures, in various stages of healing, as well as a significant brain injury,” Blackburn said. “Athens County Common Pleas Juvenile Division placed permanent custody of the infant with Athens County Children Services on Dec. 9, 2014. The infant was adopted by her foster parents and has shown significant progress over the last two-and-a-half years.”

The trial of Fannon and Thompson began on May 8. The state presented its case May 9-10, with the defense offering its case May 11, including Fannon testifying on her own behalf, the release says.

When the defendants did not show up the next day and attempts to reach them through their attorneys failed, McCarthy ordered arrest warrants issued for both, the release says.

Jurors were called back Tuesday, and McCarthy granted the state’s motion to proceed with the trial, the release says. Closing statements were presented that afternoon, and deliberations began the next day.

“Kayla Fannon and Samuel Thompson will not be fully held accountable for their actions until they are arrested and brought before the court for sentencing,” Blackburn said. “Anyone with information as to their whereabouts is urged to contact the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office at (740) 592-3208.”

The sheriff’s and prosecutor’s offices said Thursday the individuals were still being sought.