GARLAND, Maine — A local man who apparently was fighting with his daughter on Monday took her 3-year-old son and then got upset that she called the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Chief Troy Morton said Tuesday.
The daughter, 24, who is visiting from Florida, was standing in the roadway at around 5:15 p.m. when Deputy James Kennedy arrived at the Center Road home.
At that time, her father, Ansel Preble Jr., 45, had the boy in his truck.
“The man backed up the truck at a high rate of speed like he was going to ram the cruiser,” Morton said. He stopped short, however, and then “grabbed the 3-year-old and a crowbar and ran into the woods,” the deputy chief said.
Canines from Maine State Police and the Sheriff’s Department searched the woods for about three hours but came up with nothing, so the decision was made to leave the scene in hopes that Preble would return home with the boy, Morton said.
Unbeknownst to Preble, deputies were left inside his home.
“We were very concerned for the welfare of this child,” Morton said. “He returned with the child and again attempted to leave … using the child as a shield.”
The deputies were able to get the child away from his grandfather, who was then sprayed with pepper spray. At the same time, Preble’s girlfriend, Melissa Cockerham, 41, allegedly assaulted Deputy Kennedy.
Both Preble and Cockerham were charged with obstructing the report of a crime and assault and taken to Penobscot County Jail in Bangor. Preble also was charged with refusal to submit to arrest, criminal restraint and driving to endanger.
“The little boy had a cut on his lip that he indicated he got from his grandfather in the woods,” Morton said. “He was treated at Eastern Maine Medical Center [in Bangor] for mild hypothermia.”
Both Preble and Cockerham had first appearances in 3rd District Court in Bangor on Tuesday, where Cockerham was released, a jail official said. Preble remained in jail, he said.