LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A man and a woman from Asheville, North Carolina, are accused of removing their biological children from foster care.
Upon further investigation, deputies determined that Joyce Ann Branch, 47, and David Eugene Ritchey, 48, circumvented the legal custody of their daughter and son when they removed them from a foster home.
Deputies said that the children were in the North Carolina foster care system but had been placed in a home in Lexington County through the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
According to deputies, Branch and Ritchey took the children to North Carolina and hid them from the foster parents and from law enforcement. They also provided false statements to the foster parents and deputies.
The U.S. Marshall Service along with law enforcement in the Asheville area assisted and were able to locate the children with Branch and Ritchey. The couple was taken into custody.
Deputies said that Branch and Ritchey have been charged with two counts of custodial interference.
Branch and Ritchey are being held in the Buncombe County Detention Center while they await extradition to South Carolina.