Couple face neglect charge in boy’s death

POINT PLEASANT (AP) — A 20-month-old West Virginia boy suffered “a long agonizing death” from a lack of proper nutrition because his parents traded cash from supplemental nutrition benefits for methamphetamine and other drugs, state police said in court documents.

Media outlets report Carla Marie Adkins, 31, of Ashton and Jimmie Ray Edwards, 25, of the Milton area were charged Monday with child neglect resulting in death.

Criminal complaints filed in Mason County Magistrate Court said the couple used benefits from the federal government’s Women, Infants and Children nutritional program to buy baby formula, then returned the formula to a store for cash. Troopers said the cash allegedly was then used to purchase drugs, and the parents replaced the boy’s formula with cow’s milk.

The complaints said Carson Edwards died of anemia in March 2013 due to the ingestion of cow’s milk and the lack of medical care.

“The child had no voice to say it was hurting,” said state police Sgt. Larry G. O’Bryan. “He never developed speech. He never developed the ability to stand due to the developmental deficiencies of not getting the proper nutrition.”

O’Bryan said troopers believe the couple spent $70 for methamphetamine, $30 for marijuana, $20 for alcohol and $10 for tobacco.

“It was a definite choice not to give the child its necessary nutrients,” O’Bryan said.

The complaints said Adkins told state police that Edwards refused to allow his son to attend doctor visits because of his doubts over whether he fathered the boy.

O’Bryan said Edwards “never developed any type of bond with that child.”

Adkins and Edwards are being held in the Western Regional Jail on $500,000 bond apiece. Jail records didn’t indicate whether they have attorneys.

The charge carries a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison and a $5,000 fine upon conviction.

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