Wis. couple appear in court on child neglect charges

5:06 PM, Sep 24, 2012   |    comments
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SIREN, Wis. - A little more than 24 hours after turning themselves in to authorities, Jenna Danish and Thomas Williams faced a judge for the first time on Monday.

The judge approved a signature bond that didn't require any cash, and the pair was released shortly after court.

Danish and Williams are charged with felony child neglect resulting in death. Their 3-year-old daughter Reena Williams disappeared on Aug. 14 in Danbury, Wis.

Investigators say a citizen had found Reena wandering around a park a mile and a half from her home earlier in the day. The citizen brought her home, and then she was reported missing a few hours later, sparking a massive and frantic search. Her body was found in a canal on the couple's property 24 hours later.

"The complaint alleges negligence. It does not allege intentional wrongdoing on their part and that's spelled out in the complaint. So it's a sad situation for everybody," Burnett Co. District Attorney Bill Norine told KARE 11.

The complaint details a pattern of child neglect. It also details a badly neglected dog found inside the home. Investigators also found dozens of pieces of drug paraphernalia in the home and in the couple's cars, according to the complaint.

Perhaps most troubling is what they say they didn't find.

"We're dealing with a piece of land that is surrounded by water and that made it a very, as alleged in the complaint, a very dangerous place to raise a child," Norine noted, before explaining that there were no fences put up near the water to keep the wandering child out of danger.

Sheriff Dean Roland signed the search warrant on Friday afternoon. When deputies went to pick the couple up, they were gone. They walked into the county jail on their own on Sunday.

"I was pleased that they turned themselves in. That tells me that they're ready to move on with this process," Roland said.

He also remarked that upon the initial investigation, "there was a lot of evidence that there was a strong possibility of neglect."

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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