WCSO NEWS RELEASES FOR 22 OCT 2020
On 15 Oct 2020 deputies responded to the Sparks/Burkhart residence, 4755 Waterford Road, Marietta, OH, to investigate an unrelated incident. Approaching the residence, the steps leading to the residence, were broken and unsafe. Also noted outside the residence was trash scattered around the property and on the porch. There was half of a sectional couch lying in the front yard. The smell on the porch area was foul of rotten garbage.
Joshua Burkhart and Rebecca Sparks exited the residence and spoke with deputies on the front porch. Burkhart appeared to be under the influence of drugs as his eyes were glassy, his pupils were dilated, and he could not stop moving. Burkhart continued to talk out of his head.
The deputies left the residence but were called back to check the welfare of Burkhart and Sparks. Three children were at the home and present during altercations between Burkhart and Sparks. The children’s clothes, skin and hair were very dirty.
The smell inside the residence/trailer was foul of rotten meat and mildew. The house was filthy with food crumbs, garbage, and soiled diapers. Cats were inside the residence and one was urinating on the living room carpet as deputies entered. The countertops, sink, and stove were cluttered with items and dirty dishes, which contained decaying food.
Sparks stated she feared for Burkhart hurting the children when he was acting out of his head, with him making statements the children were going to kill him.
On 17 Oct 2020 Joshua Burkhart sent an email to the Sheriff’s Office which was difficult to follow and did not make any sense. He stated in the email, “I will not let myself be harmed without at least getting it out.”
On 18 Oct 2020 Sgt. McGilton obtained and executed a search warrant at the Sparks/Burkhart residence, as well as an order to remove the children.
Joshua Eric Burkhart, age 32, was served with charges – three counts of M1 endangering children for violating a duty of care, protection, and/or support and one count of F3 endangering children for torturing and cruelly abusing a child.
Rebecca Dawn Sparks, age 37, will be issued a summons for four counts of endangering children.
On 19 Oct 2020 Burkhart was placed under arrest and booked into the Washington County Jail.