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Search underway for couple accused of Child Abuse

Missourian Graphic

The Franklin County Sheriff's Department is searching for two people accused of child abuse.

In early May, Rebecca A. Bufka, 24, and Kyle B. Dirickson, 34, were each charged with abuse or neglect of a child resulting in serious physical injury, a Class B felony. Dirickson also has outstanding warrants on peace disturbance and non-support charges.

The sheriff's department posted on Facebook Wednesday morning asking the public for helping finding the two. They noted that the couple were known to frequent the Washington and Sullivan areas.

Bufka and Dirickson allegedly abused Bufka's two-year-old daughter whom they lived with in Washington, according to a pair of probable cause statements filed by the sheriff's department.

In July 2021, an investigation was opened after the grandparents of the child reported approximately 11 instances when they saw the child had “dark bruising, hand shaped bruising on the face, (and) blood vessels busted in both eyes," according to the probable cause statements. They reportedly shared photos with authorities. They also reportedly discovered a skull fracture in the girl. Additionally, neighbors reported hearing fights from the home constantly, according to the probable cause statements.

When asked by the grandparents about the bruises, Bufka reportedly claimed on multiple occasions that the child had fallen, choked on food or accidentally rubbed jalapeno juice in her eyes, according to the statements. They also reportedly told police that they had no knowledge of how the incidents occurred and said that the child is “clumsy.”

If arrested and convicted, the two could each face up to 15 years in prison.

Franklin County Sheriff Steve Pelton said the department now does not know where they are and hasn't made contact since during the investigation and before charges were filed. He did confirm that the child is not with the alleged perpetrators, but he couldn't disclose where the child was.

"We're just looking for the public's help on this," Pelton said.

The sheriff's department is asking anyone who knows where these two are to contact Detective Ashley Thomason at 636-583-2560 extension 1252 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If she is unavailable, the department says to ask for an on-duty patrol deputy to respond.

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