Father of 11 turns himself in

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The father of 11 children and teens found living in squalor in rural Burke County surrendered to authorities Friday morning and has been charged with cruelty to children.

Jeremy Long, 37, who investigators said lives in the 2000 block of Wrightsboro Road in Augusta, turned himself in at the Burke County Sheriff's Office at about 8:30 a.m., Sheriff Greg Coursey said.

Deputies in Richmond and Burke counties had been searching for him since July 31, when police found his children and their mother living in a secluded home off Springhill Church Road with no running water, no electricity and no food except two cans of jelly.

The property's caretaker, Richmond County Board of Education member Marion Barnes, said Friday the family was staying in the house without his knowledge.

The children wore ragged clothes and had never attended school in Burke County, sheriff's Capt. Frankie Parker said on the day of the discovery.

Mr. Long is charged with second-degree cruelty to children. He was being held Friday at the Burke County jail with no bond set. The children's mother, Christine Long, 38, and her 18-year-old daughter were placed in a motel earlier this week, and the community was rallying around the family with donations.

Asked why only the father has been charged, Sheriff Coursey referred the question to District Attorney Ashley Wright. Ms. Wright would not directly answer when contacted.

"This investigation is not over, and until we know more, we have to sit tight," she said. "We need to wait until all the information comes in." Questions linger about how so many children could live in such conditions without being detected by authorities. Sheriff Coursey said last week there is no record of Department of Family and Child Services contact with the family and that they were not receiving government assistance.

The children were squatting on the property, Mr. Barnes said. He pays the taxes on the 75-acre parcel, which is under the name of his deceased uncle, Scott Madison.

Mr. Barnes' aunt, Pearl Scott, once lived in the house. After her death in 2001, Mr. Barnes said, he rented the house for a short time. As far has he knew, it had been vacant for about four years.

He said an elderly man who lived nearby used to watch over the property for him, but he died.

Mr. Barnes admitted to being an "absentee landlord." He said he hasn't been there in more than a year.

"What is there for me to check? I don't farm. I don't fish," he said.

The land behind the house has become a dump site, strewn with household garbage, broken appliances, roof shingles, car tires, even a fiberglass bass boat. Trash was being stuffed into a couple of sheds in the backyard, which were packed almost to the ceiling.

Mr. Barnes said he was unaware of the property's condition. He said he plans to go to there Monday with family members.

"The only thing I can do is try to clean it up," he said. "It's an unfortunate situation, but it's something I have no control over."

The Long children range in age from nine months to 18. All but the 18-year-old are in foster care through DFACS.

A juvenile court hearing has been scheduled Monday to gauge their progress.

Capt. Parker said police discovered the family while looking for suspects in the theft of a chain saw from a nearby home.

Staff writer Timothy Cox contributed to this article.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com

Comments (47) Add comment
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bigjimjohnstowns
0
Points
bigjimjohnstowns 08/09/08 - 06:01 am
0
0
Pop him now, he has polluted

Pop him now, he has polluted the gene pool way to much already!

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 08/09/08 - 06:49 am
0
0
This is like something off of

This is like something off of X-Files. Way too many questions and not enough answers. Are Jeremy and Christine mentally deficient? Are they brother and sister? Their irresponsible actions are criminal.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 08/09/08 - 08:32 am
0
0
Father in jail, mother in a

Father in jail, mother in a motel. Doesn't seem right to me.

redapples
604
Points
redapples 08/09/08 - 08:42 am
0
0
With what I know now, I do

With what I know now, I do NOT agree with the father being in jail and the mother in a hotel. It seems to absolve the mother of all responsibility for her children.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 08/09/08 - 08:53 am
0
0
Is it a cultural improvement

Is it a cultural improvement when the father is no longer responsible for the family?

local girl
0
Points
local girl 08/09/08 - 08:55 am
0
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Until the shoes are on your

Until the shoes are on your feet,Don't be so judge-mental. at the best the mother kept them together.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
Points
No_Longer_Amazed 08/09/08 - 08:58 am
0
0
If Marion Barnes is this

If Marion Barnes is this clueless about his own property, how can we expect him to act any different on the RCBOE with other peoples property?

redapples
604
Points
redapples 08/09/08 - 08:59 am
0
0
local girl, you never know

local girl, you never know what shoes some of us are wearing or have worn. Maybe the reason we appear so harsh is because we've worn the shoes, kicked them off and made a way to buy new ones all on our own despite some pretty awful circumstances. "Let your efforts rise above your excuses. Chinese Proverb."

giwi
101
Points
giwi 08/09/08 - 09:09 am
0
0
Caretaker doesn't check on

Caretaker doesn't check on his property periodically. No wonder RCBOE is in the shape it is now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jaschild
5
Points
jaschild 08/09/08 - 09:13 am
0
0
breeders without gov't

breeders without gov't assistance - now that's news!

bigjimjohnstowns
0
Points
bigjimjohnstowns 08/09/08 - 10:01 am
0
0
Marion Barnes, that explains

Marion Barnes, that explains it!

sillylillie
0
Points
sillylillie 08/09/08 - 10:01 am
0
0
some of you people are just

some of you people are just sop judgemental the bible says 'judge not less he be judged) words to live by

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
Points
No_Longer_Amazed 08/09/08 - 10:04 am
0
0
I don't consider Marion

I don't consider Marion Barnes to be a 'caretaker.' Mr. Barnes said he pays the taxes on the 75-acre parcel, which is under the name of his deceased uncle, Scott Madison. That brings up another question, why is it still under the name of his deceased uncle?

karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 08/09/08 - 10:24 am
0
0
Wow and the plot

Wow and the plot thickens.......there's lots to work with here folks and yes it does sound like a made for TV movie...including the shady Guvment officials ...lol.... more than likely going to get even better!

Farful
7
Points
Farful 08/09/08 - 10:26 am
0
0
the jig's up Barnes. you

the jig's up Barnes. you know they were there and didn't care.

mommy22girls
0
Points
mommy22girls 08/09/08 - 10:28 am
0
0
I just don't understand how a

I just don't understand how a mother can sit there and watch her children starve and get no education with out trying to get help but not be charged also. Did the father even know they were living in those conditions? And what about the 8 month old, where was the child born, what about diapers and formula. How was the baby being feed? I don't think the father should take all responsibility. Until further information comes out I think the mother is just as much to blame as the father. Poor, poor, babies!!

Farful
7
Points
Farful 08/09/08 - 10:30 am
0
0
Further, even if you didn't

Further, even if you didn't know they were there, what kind of person would let the property accumuate trash and junk and become a dump site. Typical sorry politician..... " as far as he knew it had been vacant for about four years. it's a situation I have no control over." Bull Crap ! Get your butt out there and get it cleaned up.

ncdixon
0
Points
ncdixon 08/09/08 - 11:16 am
0
0
What Marion Barnes has to do

What Marion Barnes has to do with the fact that these people are living in an abandoned house he oversees. That has nothing to do with this father neglecting and abandoning this family. Put the blame what it is due. It seems some people already has issues with Marion Barnes and will find any avenue to assault this man for whatever reason. This is not about Barnes it is about a man hiding a family in an abandoned house and living in better conditions that his 11 children.

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 08/09/08 - 11:31 am
0
0
Well we know that ONE part of

Well we know that ONE part of the father has worked very well if indeed he IS the father of 11 children. So don't complain about him not working.

dani
12
Points
dani 08/09/08 - 11:41 am
0
0
How long had the family lived

How long had the family lived on the property? Hours, days, weeks, months? One or more of the younger children could be the woman's grandchildren. After all, lots of 18 year old girls have babies. I feel so sorry fo these folks. I don't believe they wanted to live in this fashion. Something is wrong here. perhaps that is why the father was arrested.

Renee1
0
Points
Renee1 08/09/08 - 11:54 am
0
0
It's unfair for the father to

It's unfair for the father to be punished alone. The mother should also be punished. She could have gotten help for her and those children. I don't understand how could she allow her children to go through this, if she truely loved them she should'nt have let this happen. And for Mr. Barnes, the property is not his, and any way the family was really tresspassing. JUST FACE IT, IT'S THE PARENTS FAULT!

dani
12
Points
dani 08/09/08 - 12:04 pm
0
0
renee...It could be that the

renee...It could be that the woman was hiding out from her husband. We don't know the facts or what she has endured, it could be sexual assault, abuse, any number of reasons that they were living in such a place ...and the man has been arrested.

mommy22girls
0
Points
mommy22girls 08/09/08 - 12:06 pm
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0
I agree Renee'-----Everyone

I agree Renee'-----Everyone is quick to condemn the father but my question is, did the father know they were living in these conditions?? I understand more then likely he abandoned his responsibilities far as child support and such but my dad never paid my mother child support and was never there but he was never arrested for abandonment. So there has to be more to the father's story for the father to be charged and the mother free. And like Cissy was all of these children his? I just think the mother shares responsibility in this situation and should also be charged!

DoubleD
0
Points
DoubleD 08/09/08 - 12:25 pm
0
0
Women want equality, yet many

Women want equality, yet many of them act as if a man is the only one able to provide for children. Why is this man 100% at fault for this situation? Rarely does a father get his children in a divorce, but in this case the man is again getting the short end of the stick. Did he even know the mother had them out there like that? All that is expected of us is to make a kind sperm donation and open our wallets. Total Crap. My ex is ordered to pay me $400/month in child support and recently I told her to just stop paying, because she helps me so much and is always buying clothes for our son. Why is it that I can survive without child support? Raising children has no dollar amount. Last, I'm willing to bet that this woman would be living like that even if he was supporting her. The mother and father should both be sitting in jail right now! Mommy22, your right, there must be more to this story. Those kids arent rotting because the father abandoned them. If leaving your wife and kids was illegal, many men would be in jail.

enana03
0
Points
enana03 08/09/08 - 12:44 pm
0
0
We are so quick to judge

We are so quick to judge others when we weren't there and don't know the whole story. Yes, this is tragic, but to place blame without all the facts is uncalled for. I am touched that the community has rallied around this family and are now trying to see that their future is much better than their past. Those responsible will be punished when all the facts are brought forth.

bettyj
50
Points
bettyj 08/09/08 - 01:22 pm
0
0
I believe in all honesty, the

I believe in all honesty, the mother should be charged just as much as the father. Noone in their right minds, DO NOT put their kids in a vacant house with no water or lights and walk away without looking back. She could have took the rent for the motel room and bought food, got family members to take her to get help. Both parents made sure they had a clean place to live with air and they had food in their mouth. POOR EXCUSE for Parents. Give them big time in jail. Bet their clothes were decent. Other parents get time for abuse with their kids and these 2 deserve the same thing. This is not judging them, because other people are or have been in the same situation and got help. At 37 and 38, they could have both had jobs, supporting these kids. Wish I were in the best of health to take these kids and I don`t care about the color and do not know if they are white or black.

North Richmond County
0
Points
North Richmond County 08/09/08 - 01:39 pm
0
0
Only 58% of white kids have a

Only 58% of white kids have a father in the home. I think this is a problem that needs to be more talked about. In the white community than it is already. We should focus on deadbeat dads before the problem gets any bigger. The divorce rate is 50% in america. The number of white kids without a father is suspected to overtake every race in the future. Because of regular deadbeats like this jeremy long. And kids seperated by divorce who usually end up with the mom. Most people think white single moms are in the trailer parks and poor. Which alot of them are. But there are several in the lower middle class, and middle class areas.

North Richmond County
0
Points
North Richmond County 08/09/08 - 01:42 pm
0
0
bettyj the family is white.

bettyj the family is white. WRDW showed the children's sperm donor jeremy long mughshot last night. Looks like a regular redneck from georgia. Since he can't be called a father. For leaving his children's mother, and children in a infested house by themselves.

HYPOCRITES 08
7
Points
HYPOCRITES 08 08/09/08 - 01:44 pm
0
0
Ehat's right, blame Marion

Ehat's right, blame Marion Barnes for what was going on in this house. I guess some of you found a way to take responsibility away from the parents.

North Richmond County
0
Points
North Richmond County 08/09/08 - 01:50 pm
0
0
How coming nobody is blaming

How coming nobody is blaming welfare? Like i ususally have to read all the time.

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