E'town man arrested for abuse, growing marijuana

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By Sarah Bennett

An investigation into alleged child abuse led to police discovering a marijuana-growing operation in an Elizabethtown home.

Michael J. Murray, 33, was arrested Sunday on charges of second-degree criminal abuse of a child 12 or younger, cultivating marijuana fewer than five plants, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Elizabethtown Police Department spokesman Virgil Willoughby said police responded to Murray’s Tami Court address following a complaint by the child’s mother.

According to a citation, investigators observed “severe bruising” on the child, which police believe was caused by Murray striking the 6-year-old with a belt.

During their investigation, police also located four marijuana plants in the master bedroom, Willoughby said.

In addition to the plants, investigators also seized fluorescent lights, marijuana seeds, fertilizer, a cannabis cultivator book, an SKS rifle and a 9-millimeter handgun, according to a citation.

The grow operation was found after the child’s mother provided police with a tip and investigators obtained a search warrant, according to police records.

Murray is lodged in Hardin County Detention Center in lieu of $5,000 cash bond.

He was arraigned Monday in Hardin District Court via video feed and is scheduled to appear Dec. 19 for a preliminary hearing. He was still in custody as of Monday afternoon.

Second-degree criminal abuse is a Class D felony, which is punishable by one to five years if found guilty.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.