When missing toddler Rainn Peterson was found alive two days after she wandered off, everyone rejoiced. But that wasn’t the end of it. Her mother, Brandi Peterson, soon reported that her daughter had been taken into state custody and she was only allowed to see Rainn with supervision. The police and child protection remained tight-lipped before the custody hearing Trumbull County Children’s Services scheduled for October 6, but once that was concluded they revealed the reason there was concern for Rainn Peterson’s safety, and it wasn’t a small thing at all.
In June of 2014, Brandi Peterson was arrested and charged with drug possession (heroin) and child endangerment. She pleaded guilty to the drug charges, and the child endangerment charges were eventually dropped.
#RainnPeterson mother's indictment cited drug possession, preparation, co-traffiking substances in Heroin while caring for a child— Cassie Nist (@cassienist) October 6, 2015
At the custody hearing on the 5th, Rainn Peterson’s great-grandparents, whom she had been living with before she went missing, were awarded custody of her. They currently have custody of Brandi Peterson’s two other children. Rainn’s father, Nicholas Martin, who is also the father of one of Brandi Peterson’s other children, appeared as well. It is unknown whether he was seeking custody. He did thank searchers for helping find his daughter. Currently, Rainn remains in the hospital where she is being treated for severe diaper rash, hypothermia, and dehydration. Rainn’s family confirmed that a family member, Dora Mae Peterson, spent the night with her at the hospital. The custody agreement was reportedly agreed to by all the parties in question.
While Rainn Peterson is not the first toddler who went missing whose parent or parents were later indicted on drug charges, she has already been found safe. Not so lucky is the case of Lonzie Barton in Florida. Barton went missing while in the custody of his mother’s boyfriend. At first, the boyfriend claimed he was in a car that was stolen, but it eventually came out that Barton had been injured before and his mother saw fluid coming out of his ear before she left for work that day. The car that was supposedly stolen turned up on CCTV footage and showed the boyfriend abandoning it minutes before his call to police. Barton’s mother was later arrested on unrelated drug charges. Lonzie Barton, unlike Rainn Peterson, is still missing.
Also, unlike Barton, there’s no evidence Rainn Peterson was ever physically harmed. The police have stated that they believe no one was negligent in the circumstances that led to her disappearance and no criminal charges would be laid in the case. In a time when protective services are known to have been involved in several cases where a child went missing under suspicious circumstances, it’s a relief to see that authorities are still looking out for little Rainn Peterson and her brothers.
And it’s a relief to also see her rescuer, Victor Sutton, being so upfront and candid about finding Rainn Peterson. He says that he isn’t a hero, and was just someone in the right place at the right time. Yet he was the one who made the triumphant 911 call that many who followed the case would be happy to hear.
“I found baby Rainn and she’s alive.”
His words need no further comment. Hopefully, both Rainn Peterson and her siblings’ life will continue to be blessed after this point, whoever continues to look after them.
(Image stock image via Shutterstock.)