Three men, including father, charged in case of missing 9-month-old later found in kudzu-covered ravine

Published 9:45 pm Sunday, September 17, 2023

Three people have been arrested after an investigation into a 9-month-old Alabama child who was reported missing in July, but was later found in a kudzu-covered ravine, police said.

On July 10th, 2023, the Parrish police were notified a 9-month-old child that was left inside of a vehicle located at 311 Crest Avenue in Parrish.

The father, Jo Rilee Freeman, reported to officers that he left the child inside the running vehicle while he went inside to visit his friends. The child was located inside the vehicle 12 hours later. The vehicle was approximately 80 yards down a steep embankment across the street from the house completely covered in kudzu.

The investigation has revealed the father, Jo Rilee Freeman, drove to 311 Crest Avenue and was conducting a drug transaction with Rodney Thomas while inside the residence.

The father was made aware while he was inside the residence that his car was no longer in the driveway. He drove around for several minutes looking for his car then notified the police. A handgun and other narcotics were recovered from the residence.

The evidence in this case was reviewed by the Walker County District Attorney’s Office and warrants have been issued for the following people:

  • Madison Jo Rille Freeman, 30, of Jasper, charged with conspiracy to commit a controlled substance crime and endangering the welfare of a child.
  • Rodney Thomas, 45, of Parrish, charged with conspiracy to commit a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a controlled substance crime.
  • Mason Chappel, 19, of Parrish, charged with interfering with governmental operations.
  • Rodney Thomas was taken into custody by the Parrish Police Department near his residence. After he was taken into custody, he was found to have in his possession nearly 6 grams of methamphetamine and a bottle of assorted prescription pills that did not belong to him. He is in the Walker County Jail on a $100,000 cash bond.

    Madison Jo Rilee Freeman was taken into custody in Jasper by the Parrish and Cordova Police Departments and has been transferred to the Walker County Jail. He will go before a judge in the coming days and have his bond set at that time.

    Mason Chappell was taken into custody at his residence in Parrish and will go before a judge in the coming days and have his bond set at that time.