Duo charged in ‘one of the worst’ child abuse cases sheriff has ever seen


Brandi Nicole Drexler and Paul Nelson Ruppe Jr. WSPA images

GAFFNEY, S.C. (WSPA) – Two people have been arrested in Cherokee County in connection to what Sheriff Steve Mueller says is “one of the worst cases of child abuse his investigators have ever investigated to a child of this age.”

Brandi Nicole Drexler, 23, and 28-year-old Paul Nelson Ruppe Jr. were charged with unlawful neglect of a child for abusing a 3-year-old girl, deputies said.

According to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, investigators took the child into Emergency Protective Custody after investigators discovered a video of a male slapping the face of a child multiple times.

The child was taken to the hospital and was found to have old and new bruises. Deputies said she also had black and blue marks on her face and body.

According to Sheriff Mueller, it is one of the worst cases of child abuse his investigators have ever investigated to a child of this age.

“These are the types of cases that pull at the heartstrings of the law enforcement investigators, DSS workers and medical professionals working these abuse cases,” he said.

Drexler and Ruppe were booked into the Cherokee County Detention Center and bond was set at $50,000 for both suspects.

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges could be filed, the sheriff’s office said. Deputies say other people remain under investigation.

Anyone with information about suspects in this case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIMESC (1-888-274-6372) or Investigator Lieutenant Brandon Gardner at the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office at 864-489-4722 Extension #125.

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