By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer
(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Westminster man early this morning on two charges, including one for Unlawful Neglect of a Child.
40 year old Tracey Shane Prater, who resides at an address on Highway 59, was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 7:15am. Prater has also been charged with Assault and Battery – Third Degree.
Deputies from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to reports of a fight at the Highway 59 address early this morning. As the investigation began and evidence was gathered, deputies learned that Prater had assaulted a male at the incident location. The male was located a short distance away from the incident location.
Prater was placed under arrest by deputies. As the investigation continued, deputies learned that an 11 year old child was located in the residence which deputies described as a storage building converted into a house.
Deputies, once inside the residence, discovered unhealthy and unsanitary conditions inside of the home and placed the child into emergency protective custody and notified the Department of Social Services, upon which an employee of the agency responded to the scene.
Prater was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center on a temporary custody order until warrants were obtained today.
Prater remains in custody at the Detention Center as of 3:30pm today as he awaits a bond hearing.
The charge of Assault and Battery – 3rd Degree is a misdemeanor and carries a penalty of not more than 30 days in jail and/or a fine of not more than $500.
The charge of Unlawful Neglect of a Child is felony and carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison and/or a fine with the amount determined at the discretion of the court.
The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation.