By Associated Press - Wednesday, June 17, 2015

BLUFFTON, Ind. (AP) - A northeastern Indiana man has pleaded guilty to a murder charge in the death of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son whose badly burned body was found in a wooded area.

Thirty-one-year-old Zachary Barnes of Bluffton made the guilty plea Wednesday in connection with the January death of Owen Collins. The Wells County prosecutor says Barnes is to be sentenced Aug. 6 to 50 years in prison under terms of a plea agreement.

Authorities say Owen died while Barnes, his mother and a teenager smoked methamphetamine at the mother’s Bluffton home. A coroner ruled he died from blunt force trauma.

Authorities say the boy’s body was put into a cardboard box, driven to a rural area and burned.

Owen’s mother, 21-year-old Breanna Arnold, and the teenager also face charges in his death.



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