Waynesboro woman did drugs prior to baby being found dead
WAYNESBORO, VA – The case of a Waynesboro woman whose baby was found dead last year concluded Wednesday with a conviction.
Christian P. Haynes, 19, is facing the possibility of 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in Waynesboro Circuit Court to a felony charge of child abuse.
Zayden Haynes, just 7 months old, was found dead March 3, 2018, after his mother neglected to check on him for 15 hours, according to Waynesboro assistant prosecutor Elysse Stolpe.
The baby was placed in a crib with an adult blanket, an adult pillow and had a bottle propped up onto his mouth when Haynes last saw him the night before at 11 p.m., Stolpe said.
The next day at 11 a.m., Haynes heard the baby crying but opted to let him “cry it out, even though she hadn’t checked on him for about 12 hours,” according to Stolpe.
Three hours later, Haynes, 18 years old at the time, woke up shortly after 2 p.m. and posted a selfie online. Five minutes after that a 911 call was placed when the baby was found unresponsive.
Stolpe said Haynes began smoking meth three days prior to the boy’s death, which kept her awake for days. The prosecutor said Haynes was tired and “coming down off that high” when she failed to properly care for her child.
A search of Haynes’ residence revealed there was methamphetamine and marijuana in the home. A smoking device was found near the child’s crib and another one was discovered next to his playpen in another room, Stolpe said. Haynes also admitted to sometimes smoking meth inside a closet in the baby’s room.
Stolpe said a drug screen done at the home by an Augusta County Child Protective Services employee showed Haynes had meth and marijuana in her system.
“This underscores that drugs aren’t just a victimless crime,” Stolpe said. “A child is dead because his mother was too busy getting high and then sleeping it off.”
Stolpe said the Waynesboro Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office considered a more serious homicide charge, but said an autopsy was inconclusive in determining if the baby suffocated to death. “Sudden unexplained infant death associated with unsafe bedding” was listed as the cause of death, according to Stolpe.
Following her guilty plea, Haynes, who has no prior criminal record, was allowed to remain free on bond.
Father charged with capital murder after
stabbing toddler in Lewisville, police say
DALLAS, TX – A father accused of slamming his toddler son on the sidewalk and stabbing him in a deadly attack has been charged with capital murder, Lewisville police said.
Blair Ness, 27, was released from the hospital Tuesday and booked into the Lewisville city jail after the attack that killed his son, 16-month-old Ashton Ness, Sunday in a courtyard at Oak Forest Apartments in Lewisville. Bail is set at $1.5 million.
As Ness, who was shot by a neighbor trying to stop the attack, was being handcuffed Sunday, he asked police to contact his mother and girlfriend. He told officers, “I know everyone’s mad, I’m mad. I killed my son,” according to an affidavit for his arrest.
A forensic investigator found stab wounds “all over” the boy’s head and body, police records say.
Police said evidence indicates that Ness’ attack on the toddler began inside the apartment he shared with his son and girlfriend, who was at work when the boy was killed. Officers found a large blood stain on the carpet in the master bedroom, a blood-stained folding knife and skull fragments near the bedroom door, the affidavit states. The apartment was smoky and smelled of marijuana, police said.
A trail of blood led outside to the scene of the attack, where officers saw several bloody kitchen knives in the grass next to a pool of blood.
When police interviewed the boy’s mother and Ness’s girlfriend, Alexandra Murphy, she said she couldn’t think of any reason why Ness would want to harm their son, the affidavit said. He had been reading the Bible a lot and they had been attending church lately, she told police. When she left the apartment Sunday to go to work, Ness was feeding their son.
In a statement, Ness’s family asked to be left alone to mourn Ashton.
“The shock of this vicious act will forever affect anyone that is close to this horror that happened on August 19th. We thank you for all the support, space and kindness during this time. We love you Ashton and we will always remember your beautiful smile and laughter,” the statement read.
The family’s statement said Ness “left this earth sometime in the last few weeks as he opened a door to allow demons to enter into his body.”
Ness did not have a criminal history in Dallas, Denton, Collin or Tarrant counties, according to court records.
In 2013, he entered a guilty plea in New Mexico on charges of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and kidnapping of a victim younger than 18. He pleaded guilty but was placed on deferred adjudication probation, court records indicate. The charges were dismissed in 2018 when he completed the probation program.
Ness was arrested March 23, 2013, after an overnight standoff with a SWAT team in Los Lunas, N.M., according to KOAT-TV. Police were called to his home after a woman told dispatchers she had been sexually assaulted, and Ness refused to come out for six hours until police fired pepper spray inside, the station reported.
It is unclear whether Ness has an attorney yet.
Just days before the attack, Ness posted a picture on Facebook of the young family and expressed his devotion to them and Jesus.
“The start of something beautiful!” he wrote. “I love my family, man do we have a strong bond, let’s all stand strong in jesus christ cause it’s so much better than magic.”
Ness was treated for a hand injury, likely from the knife used in the attack, and a gunshot wound to the leg, police said. Toxicology tests are pending.
Friends will hold a public candlelight vigil Thursday for 16-month-old Ashton Ness. The event will be at 7:30 p.m. at Wayne Ferguson Plaza on Church Street in Lewisville.
Family set up a GoFundMe campaign to help Ashton’s mother with funeral expenses.
A description for the fundraiser said Ashton “lit up a room when he entered it,” and had “the cutest dimples you ever saw.”
The fundraiser had surpassed its goal of $15,000 on Tuesday.
Several neighbors at the sprawling Oak Forest Apartments complex, along State Highway 121 Business just west of Interstate 35E, saw and heard Sunday’s attack in the courtyard.
Neighbors say Ashton’s father came out of his apartment ranting and raving as he carried a child in his arms who wasn’t moving.
Nine frantic neighbors, including the girlfriend of the neighbor who shot at the father, called 911 during the attack, according to recordings released by the city. Each told dispatchers there was a man stabbing his son in the apartment courtyard.
One man told the dispatcher: “They slammed the little kid on the ground. They’re stabbing their baby out here in the middle…”
“They’re stabbing their baby?” the dispatcher asked.
“They’re stabbing the baby right now in the middle of the complex, right now,” he said.
Another caller told a dispatcher, “There’s blood everywhere.”
“I think the dad killed him,” she said. The woman then told the dispatcher she heard two or three gunshots.
“Shots just went off,” she said.
Neither the police nor Child Protective Services had been previously called to the boy’s home in Lewisville, Capt. Jesse Hunter said at the scene Sunday.
“Time did not allow for him to come down to the ground level; he retrieved his firearm and shot the suspect from that elevated position,” Capt. Mike Lane said on Monday morning. “It was a handgun. … It was a citizen that was able to stop the attack, very fortunate.”
The attack began just before 1 p.m. Sunday at Oak Forest Apartments at 1531 S. State Highway 121 Business. The large, gated community showed no signs of the incident the next morning.
Lane said the suspect went into a courtyard at the complex and stabbed his 16-month-old son numerous times. The child later died. The father also had wounds on his hand from a knife, Lane said.
The man who intervened from the second-floor balcony shot the suspect in his leg, Lane said.
Police Capt. Jesse Hunter said Sunday, “That was what effectively ended the assault on the child.”
Video shot by a neighbor on a cellphone shows the suspect, in a black T-shirt and white shorts without any shoes on, handcuffed and being dragged away from the courtyard by several officers.
“Look they’re locking me away mom,” the suspect says in the video. “I just want to see my mom, all right.”
He loses his footing briefly and police help him up before he begins to yell again.
“In the black truck! Look,” the suspect said in the video.
The shooter will not be criminally charged, police said.
The suspect’s name is not being released, pending his arrest. He’s in the hospital receiving treatment. It’s unknown how long that will take, Lane said.
The child was identified by the Tarrant County Medical Examiners office as Ashton Ness.
Lane said there were several witnesses to the attack and it was reported that the man had been yelling — “possibly some religious yells.”
There had not been any previous calls or reports to police at the apartment, Lane said. Nor had there been prior reports by the child’s family involving Child Protective Services, he said.
The mother of the child was at work at the time of the stabbing, Lane said.
Brandi Flores, manager of the apartment complex, said they are saddened by the event. She said it was an isolated incident and couldn’t comment further.
Kansas removes lawsuit fear for rescuers of
children, pets trapped in hot cars
Beginning Sunday, good Samaritans in Kansas won’t have to think about getting sued for busting out the window of a hot car to save a child or pet trapped inside.
A new state law underscores that lives are more important than property when it comes to hot cars. Kansas joins 18 states — including Missouri — in giving rescuers legal immunity when they believe a person or a pet is in imminent danger. Two additional states have laws protecting pets only.
Amber Rollins, director of the non-profit Kids and Cars, on Monday demonstrated how a simple device can in seconds shatter the window of a locked vehicle, making rescue possible. Rollins used a disabled SUV at the 129 Auto Parts salvage lot in Spring Hill, Kansas.
A hand-held, spring-loaded device called “resqme” was the only tool she needed. It must be used on a side window because windshields and rear windows are made to not shatter. The device, which shoots a metal pin at the glass, should be applied to a corner of a side window. Applying it to the center of the window will not work.
Regular nail punches available at hardware stores can also be used. In fact, Johnson County MedAct units each carry nail punches. A crowbar or stone or any other implement also can be used.
Some things to consider when busting out a window:
First check to see if the vehicle is locked. Obviously, if it is not the window does not need to be broken.
Use appropriate force against a side window furthest away from the child or animal inside as the glass can fly.
Get the victim to a cool place, remove clothing and apply water.
Stay until emergency responders arrive.
In addition to Kids and Cars, the Kansas law was championed by Safe Kids Kansas and the Humane Society Legislative Fund of Kansas.
Although Kids and Cars is not aware of any case in which a rescuer was later sued for causing property damage to a vehicle, Rollins pointed to a New Mexico hot-car death in which two witnesses told police they saw the victim in distress but did not act.
Rollins keeps two resqmes handy. One is attached to the driver’s seat belt of her car so it will be immediately available to use in escaping if the vehicle becomes submerged in water. The resqme also has a blade to cut the seat belt if necessary.
Rollins keeps her other resqme on her key ring in case she notices a vulnerable child or pet in a hot car.
“A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult,” said Cherie Sage, state coordinator for Safe Kids Kansas. “Their developing bodies are not as efficient at regulating their temperature. When a child’s internal temperature reaches 104 degrees major organs begin to shut down. And when that child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees that child can die.”
During Monday’s demonstration, the outside temperature was in the low 80s but the temperature inside the SUV was over 100 degrees. The air inside a vehicle can jump that much in a matter of minutes, even if the windows are partially open, because the windshield has a greenhouse effect.
There have been 18 child deaths in hot cars in the United States so far this year, about par with the average of 37 a year. But there are three other suspected cases this year awaiting autopsy results.
In most cases the parent did not know or simply forgot that their child was in the back seat.
Kids and Cars suggests that parents make a habit of putting their smart phones in the back seat so they will have to go there to retrieve them. Another idea is to keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and move it to the front seat when a child is strapped in to serve as a visible reminder for the parent.
Bonita woman faces aggravated Child Abuse charges after baby in her care is
LEE COUNTY, FL – A 5-month-old baby boy has severe brain damage, and a Bonita Springs woman is facing aggravated child abuse charges after the infant she was watching for a friend stopped breathing, and a medical exam found he had suffered extensive internal injuries.
Maria Antonio-Jose, 24, was arrested Saturday and remains in Lee County Jail on $200,000 bond. Her arraignment will be July 9.
The Florida Department of Children and Families has opened a child protection investigation into the incident.
“We have not had prior involvement with the child or the alleged perpetrator,” said Natalie Harrell, spokeswoman for Suncoast Region of DCF. “At this time, as the investigation is ongoing, the information we can share is limited.”
A Lee County Sheriff’s Office report said the baby was left with Antonio-Jose on May 15 while the mother, a friend, went to work. At noon Antonio-Jose called the mother and told her the baby had stopped breathing due to choking on milk.
The sheriff’s report said Antonio-Jose’s husband also said she called him at work and said the baby had choked on milk and wasn’t breathing.
The infant was first taken to North Collier Hospital and then transported to Golisano Children’s Hospital in south Fort Myers. He was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, extensive retinal hemorrhaging, ripped right retina, considered to be in a persistent vegetative state and was not expected to recover.
Examination of the child also found that the injury was not consistent with choking but rather with severe child abuse.
A sheriff’s report said the child protection team at Golisano described the brain injury as the result of a rapid acceleration/deceleration injury which, according to medical dictionaries, can be caused by blows or vehicle crashes and results from the abrupt movement and deformation of the brain in the cranial cavity.
Treatment was withdrawn Friday and the infant was transferred to hospice care.