JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services (DCS) reportedly tried to check a child’s welfare for four months — including for alleged sexual abuse — when a Washington County Sheriff’s officer forced entry to the child’s home Tuesday morning, leading to the later arrest of a man on multiple abuse, neglect and false imprisonment charges.

Ronald D. White, 48, was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with three counts of false imprisonment, aggravated domestic assault, child abuse or neglect and abuse of an elderly or vulnerable adult in the case.

An affidavit for White’s arrest reveals that Deputy Megan Harkleroad entered a home with no electricity, animal feces on the floor and two adults (the child’s mother and grandmother) who told her they had been abused by White and did not feel safe in the home. The daughter reported that White had broken her arm in December and then told her he would kill her if she told anyone.

“I asked the victims if they felt safe in the residence, and they advised they were afraid of the suspect and stated he had been abusing drugs and could be extremely violent,” the affidavit states. They were taken to a local safe house after the interview, while the child was located at school and put into DCS custody.

A DCS case manager had called the sheriff’s office after seeing White outside the house Tuesday morning before he walked around the house and disappeared.

She told Harkleroad she had been trying to check the child’s welfare since November 2022, that the child had not attended school in more than 80 days and that each time she tried to make contact with White he “avoided service.”

The two adults hadn’t answered the door and Harkleroad forced entry “due to the nature of the abuse allegations to the child, and the multiple attempts prior to this incident without contact,” she wrote.

That happened after she interviewed a neighbor, who said he was the grandmother’s brother and that the mother and grandmother “had no way of leaving the residence.”

Harkleroad searched the home and found the women inside a small room. She wrote that multiple animals were inside and that in addition to the lack of electricity and animal feces, there was a strong urine smell and an appearance of “extremely poor living conditions.”

White was gone at the time, having walked around the back of the house when the case worker arrived earlier. He was implicated in a theft later Tuesday night and eventually apprehended the next morning.

The younger woman told Harkleroad White had walked her daughter to the school bus stop that morning. She also said that White had broken her arm on Dec. 27, 2022, taken her to a local hospital, and “advised her that if she told anyone what happened, he would kill her, and if she ran, he would find her and kill her.”

The grandmother reported that White had threatened her numerous times but not physically harmed her, the affidavit says, but that she had witnessed physical abuse to her daughter.

The daughter said she didn’t have a phone to call for help and “was threatened with physical harm if (s)he talked to anyone,” while the mother told Harkleroad she hadn’t had access to food in almost two days.

That same night, a woman reported that Smith had been repairing her vehicle but also had the keys to two storage units attached. She noticed, asked for her keys back and then went to the two units in north Johnson City and discovered missing items, including a .32 revolver, worth an estimated $3,000.

She told Deputy Ryan Smith she then called White, Smith’s affidavit shows. “He admitted to taking them but promised to pay her back if she didn’t call law enforcement.”

White, who is being held at the Washington County Detention Center on a $64,000 bond, was set to be arraigned Thursday afternoon.

News Channel 11 has reached out to DCS for more information on how many times the agency had visited the home and attempted to contact White.