WYTHE COUNTY, Virginia (CNN) – Authorities in Wythe County, Virginia arrested a woman and her boyfriend after the woman’s three-year-old daughter drowned.
The County Sheriff says this tragedy probably wouldn’t have happened if the couple hadn’t been high on meth.
“I’ve worked for the sheriff’s office for 36 years, and the thing that bothers the officers the most is the death of a child, so it’s never a good outcome for those guys,” says Keith Dunagan, Wyte County Sheriff.
A shocking discovery for deputies and the one hundred people searching all night for 3-year-old Josie Burleson along the new river.
Wythe County Sheriff Keith Dunagan says Josie wandered away, while her mother, Kimberly Moore and boyfriend, Alan Puckett stopped by a rental cabin near their home rocky road Tuesday night.
He believes Burleson got into the river and likely drowned.
“At any point, what is this ever a search and recovery or was it always a search and rescue until you guys found the body,” Sheriff Dunagan says. “It was a rescue. We were hoping, dealing with a three-year-old, you just hope for the best, get as people there as you can, and hit the ground with both feet.”
Sheriff Dunagan says because Moore and Puckett were high on meth — they weren’t paying attention to what Burleson was doing.
The couple renting one of the cabins tells 10 News Puckett ran up to them multiple times looking for Burleson after realizing she was gone.
“I believe that the child would be alive today if the adults that were supposed to be supervising weren’t high,” Sheriff Dunagan says.
Now the sheriff is turning his attention to his own in what’s been a trying few hours for the community in Wythe County.
Sheriff Dunagan says, “when you’ve got people that are trained to help ease the pain of something like that, it helps it helps a lot.”
Moore and Puckett have been charged with reckless endangerment, but the sheriff said more charges could be pending.