Grant County beating suspect in custody - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Grant County beating suspect in custody

The suspect reportedly broke into the residence, located on Ten Mile Road, around 7:15 a.m. (FOX19/M.Woeste) The suspect reportedly broke into the residence, located on Ten Mile Road, around 7:15 a.m. (FOX19/M.Woeste)
Eric Unthank is currently housed in the Boone County Detention Center (Source: Boone Co. Jail) Eric Unthank is currently housed in the Boone County Detention Center (Source: Boone Co. Jail)
DRY RIDGE, KY (FOX19) - A man accused of beating six people, including some with special needs, was taken into custody early Thursday, said Sheriff Chuck Dills.

The Boone County Sheriff's Office arrested Eric Unthank, 42, about 7:15 a.m. in Union, Dills said.

A passerby spotted Unthank walking about 6:45 a.m. on Beaver Road in Union and told Boone County Sheriff's Deputy Eric Evans at a nearby Shell gas station in Richwood, said Tom Scheben, sheriff's spokesman.

Evans and Deputy Mike Dehner responded and found Unthank on the road. He gave them a false name, but they recognized him from his neck tattoos and took him into custody on a falsification charge.

Unthank was booked into the Boone County jail by 7:30 a.m. and is expected to be transferred later Thursday to the Grant County jail.  He faces charges there of burglary, six counts of assault and 12 counts of harassing communications. He also had an arrest warrant in Boone County for flagrant child support.

A manhunt that included federal officials ensued overnight after authorities say Unthank broke into a Ten Mile Road home in Dry Ridge early Wednesday and beat several residents with a club. Some of the victims were special needs.

A substitute school bus driver driving by saw Unthank in the garage attacking the home's owner, Janet Baumgardner.

The driver got off his bus, seized the club and threatened Unthank with it. 

Unthank ran off and eluded authorities for nearly 24 hours.

Baumgardner was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Florence with minor injuries and has since returned home. Family members say one of her granddaughters was also injured and was taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital. 

The home on Ten Mile Road is being used as a special needs daycare, according to a woman whose adult daughter is cared for there. She told FOX19 NOW that her daughter and another adult woman with special needs were hit during the assault. 

According to authorities, Baumgardner was a foster mother for three other children. 

Sheriff's deputies told FOX19 NOW on Wednesday night that the six people beaten in the attack have all been released from local hospitals. 

Police think Unthank was on the hunt for a 17-year old ex-girlfriend who was sometimes at the home and intended to hurt her.

“He really has no close friends. We have his vehicle impounded now, so he has no way of transportation. We believe there's a possibility he could still be out in a barn somewhere,” said Dills.

Late Wednesday, local authorities called on the U-S Marshals to aid in the search.

"It appears he's on federal probation and we're hoping they'll violate his federal probation, and he'll also have the federal charges on him besides the seven felonies that we currently have,” Dills said.

The federal probation stems from a pursuit with police involving grenades and guns.

"According to his ex-girlfriend, she says that it had to do with a shootout with law enforcement down in central Kentucky involving a pursuit that there were grenades and firearms involved,” Dills said.

It's was cold night in Grant County. But that apparently was not be a problem for Unthank, who's been described to police as a survivalist.

"With the charges he's facing, and the crime he's committed, there's a good possibility that he could stay out in the woods and stay protected,” said Dills.

The incident caused nearby Crittenden-Mt. Zion Elementary School to go on lockdown for much of the day.

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