The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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February 10, 2013

Mother and stepfather charged in toddler’s death

Police say prescription drug abuse connected

— A mother and stepfather from Fairdale have been charged in connection with the death of a 2-year-old boy. Police say prescription drug abuse also played a part in the child’s death.

James Green, 23, has been arrested and charged with murder.

Brandy Smallwood, 27, has been arrested and charged with child neglect causing death for leaving the toddler in the hands of a known drug addict, said Sgt. D. W. Bennett, of the West Virginia State Police Troop 6.

Bennett said two troopers responded to a 911 call reporting an unresponsive and bloody toddler at a trailer on Maple Road in Fairdale just before 9:30 p.m. Friday.

The child, a twin, was taken to Raleigh General Hospital and then to Women and Children’s Hospital in Charleston where he died.

Bennett said State Police determined the child sustained injuries congruent with physical abuse, including bruising.

The deceased toddler’s twin brother also showed signs of physical abuse and has been placed in the custody of Child Protective Services, police indicated.

In an earlier report, police suggested the child may have died from shaken baby syndrome, but Bennett said the official cause of death will be determined by the State Medical Examiner’s Office.

When police arrived at the scene Friday, Green was unresponsive and neighbors reported he had threatened suicide.

The police investigation revealed evidence of recent drug use in the home.

Green was transported to Raleigh General Hospital Friday night and arrested after his release Saturday afternoon.

“Any time there is a child victim, it is hard on us,” shared Bennett. “This incident speaks to what this (prescription drug) epidemic is doing and what it can make one human being do to another.”

Both Green and Smallwood are being held in Southern Regional Jail.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

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