Maxwell couple arrested on child endangerment, drug charges

Two parents from rural Story County have been arrested following a criminal investigation into claims of child endangerment.

According to Story County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Leanna Ellis, authorities were contacted by the Department of Human Services on April 8 regarding the home environment of the couple, who live “in a rural residence of Maxwell.” Ellis noted that four children, all of which are under the age of ten, reside at the home.

DHS reportedly initiated an investigation into the couple due to claims that “a male child was forced to stand in a push up position against a wall as means of punishment.” According to a press release, the child’s father, John McDaniel, went on to “intentionally [knock] the child’s arms down, causing him to fall and break his nose.”

Ellis added that an extended family member had reported concerns regarding the household, specifically related to “overall living conditions, drug use in front of children, and the use of melatonin.” Further investigation into the claims revealed text messages that allegedly confirmed suspicion that Jessica “dosed” all four children with high amounts of melatonin.

Ellis explained that part of the investigation process involved a search warrant being executed at the McDaniel residence, along with the seizure of a cellular device belonging to Jessica. In addition, it is alleged that “pictures of controlled substances and paraphernalia in the vicinity of the children inside the residence were located.”

Jessica A. McDaniel, 29 (left), and John G. McDaniel, 43 (right) are accused of endangering their four children at their Story County home. (Photos: Story County Jail)

As a result of the investigation, 43-year-old John Glenn McDaniel and 29-year-old Jessica Ashley McDaniel were each arrested and charged with four counts of Child Endangerment, an aggravated misdemeanor.

John McDaniel also faces one count of Assault Causing Bodily Injury, a serious misdemeanor. He is being held at the Story County Jail on a $5,000 bond, according to jail records.

Jessica McDaniel faces additional charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance – Marijuana First Offense, a serious misdemeanor and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor. She is also being held at the Story County Jail, where she faces a $5,500 bond.

According to online records, initial court dates have not been set for either party.

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