Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini announced Wednesday night that detectives from his office have recovered the body of a missing infant.

Captain John W. Murphy stated as a result of this ongoing investigation, detectives received information of a possible location of the missing baby. Murphy stated detectives and he responded to a location in Otway, where they located a well that appeared to be about 30 foot deep.

With the assistance of Otway Fire Department, authorities were able to recover the body from the bottom of the well. The body has been transported to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy.

The original story follows.

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Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini announced Wednesday night that the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation concerning a missing 4-month-old child, for whom the Scioto County Children Services was awarded legal custody shortly after the child’s birth and learning the child was born with illicit drugs in his system.

The Scioto County Children Services Agency later placed the child back into the custody of the biological father after completing and agreeing to all of the requirements for family unification as requested by Scioto County Children Services.



According to Captain John W. Murphy, the father had initially been compliant with all of the requirements set forth by Scioto County Children Services, then started missing court dates, home visits and doctor appointments for the child. Scioto County Children Services had made several attempts to locate the child and to persuade the father to comply with terms as agreed upon at the time of temporary placement, but neither could be located.

On May 3, a case worker from the Scioto County Children Services came to the Sheriff’s Office to obtain assistance in finding the child. Deputies, along with the casework, responded to location of the father’s residence in Otway but was unable to obtain a response, and all indication appeared that nobody was home. Deputies, representatives from the Scioto County Children Services and Juvenile Court repeatedly continued to return to the residence on multiple occasions in an attempt to locate the infant and father but without success.

On May 20, Captain Murphy and Chief Deputy Todd Miller approached the residence in an attempt to locate their whereabouts and actually observed the infant’s parents on a four-wheeler, which resulted in a pursuit with the two fleeing into the wooded area and avoiding apprehension.
Sheriff Donini reported that on Monday, June 10, after meeting with the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office and Scioto County Juvenile Court, detectives from the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office were able to develop enough legal probable cause to obtain get a search warrant for the residence and property. The search warrant was executed by the sheriff’s office, along with assistance from the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force.

Jessica Groves was apprehended without incident from the residence, while Daniel Groves barricaded himself inside. As the result, the Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Special Response Team, which included the aviation unit, who also assisted with a six-hour-long standoff that ultimately resulted in the apprehension of Daniel Groves.

During this search warrant, several stolen items were recovered on this property including two 4-wheelers, UTV, two stolen trailers, a riding lawn mower, a camper and other items valued at $42,000, Murphy said.

As the result of the current information developed during this investigation, detectives have reason to believe that the missing child is now deceased and has been since approximately late March 2019. Detectives and BCI&I agents, along with Ohio Department of Natural Resources officers with cadaver dogs, have searched a wooded area where detectives have received information that the baby was allegedly taken and left after death. The baby’s remains have not yet been recovered; however, additional searches will take place as new evidence surfaces.

Jessica D. Groves, 39, of Otway has been charged with one count of abduction, a felony of the second degree; one count of kidnapping, a felony of the first degree; one count of interference of custody, a misdemeanor; along with a contempt of court. She is being held on a $100,000 bond.

Daniel A. Groves, 41, of Otway has been charged with one count of abduction, a felony of the second degree; kidnapping, a felony of the first degree; interference with custody, a misdemeanor; a probation violation; and was served a warrant for theft and receiving stolen property. He is being held without bond.

Both suspects will appear in Portsmouth Municipal Court on a later date.

This investigation is still ongoing. Sheriff Donini and Captain Murphy said that the successful arrest of both suspects was the result of all of the agencies working together as a team and would personally like to thank everyone involved.

According to Murphy, this case will be presented to the Scioto County Grand Jury in the very near future, where additional criminal charges will likely result.

Anyone with any information regarding this case should contact Detective Jodi Conkel at (740) 351-1091. All calls will remain anonymous.