NC parents accused of taking children from Midlands foster home


Lexington Co., S.C. (WOLO)– Lexington Co. deputies say a man and woman from Asheville, NC are accused of taking their children from foster care.

Investigators say Joyce Branch, 47, and David Ritchey, 48, are charged with two counts of custodial interference.

“Based on communication records and information gathered during interviews, investigators have determined Branch and Ritchey circumvented the legal custody of their daughter and son when they removed them from a foster home,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said. “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 their legal guardians and law enforcement.

“Both Branch and Ritchey provided false statements about the children’s whereabouts to both their foster parents and law enforcement officers,” Koon said. “Thanks to assistance from law enforcement agencies in the Asheville area and the U.S. Marshals Service, the children were located and Branch and Ritchey were taken into custody.”

Koon said Branch and Ritchey are being held in the Buncombe County Detention Center while they await extradition to South Carolina.

Categories: Lexington, Local News, News