By CHRIS COTELESSE
Ashland police officers testified Monday about their investigation into the alleged force labor and imprisonment of a cognitively-impaired woman and her five-year-old daughter by Jessica L. Hunt, 31, and Jordie L. Callahan, 26.
Officer Kim Mager described the alleged victim, referred to as S.E. in court documents, when she questioned her on Oct. 25, 2012, about allegations of child endangerment by Hunt and Callahan.
“She was filthy,” she said. “She had coagulated saliva around her mouth. Her nails were black around the cuticles … She was underweight.”
The testimony came before Judge Benita Y. Pearson in U.S. District Court in Youngstown. Hunt and Callahan, both of Ashland, are accused of imprisoning S.E. and stealing her government assistance.
Hunt and Callahan provided the police with video evidence of S.E. striking her daughter after S.E. was arrested for shoplifting on Oct. 24, 2012.
Mager also described S.E.’s daughter as she appeared on that date.
“She had a distended stomach, but her rib cage was sunken in,” she said. “She had marks on her arms, marks on her legs.”
Mager said she asked S.E. if she had been sexually abused. Although S.E. said that she had not been, Mager said she believed S.E. had been abused.
“She raised her shoulders and lowered her head. She appeared fearful,” Mager told the court.
Mager had separated S.E. from Hunt and Callahan while she questioned her, but she said that Hunt and Callahan were close enough to interject during the conversation.
Sgt. Darcy Baker also testified that S.E.’s demeanor, physical appearance and personal hygiene began to improve once she was taken to jail on charges of child endangerment.
“She began to smile when I came to see her,” he said. “She began to put on weight.”
Federal prosecutor Chelsea Rice said she expects the government to finish calling its witnesses by the end of the day Tuesday, at which point the defense will present its case.
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