The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Police/Courts

July 15, 2014

Bolt woman enters guilty plea to child neglect

A Bolt woman pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor charge of child neglect, stemming from a Fourth of July incident at a Beckley hotel, according to Raleigh County Magistrate Steve Massie.

Jessica Hatfield, 25, was sentenced to 60 days in jail. The sentence was suspended to six months of probation, on the condition that Hatfield complete parenting and substance abuse classes, said Massie.

On July 4, a desk clerk at a Harper Road motel contacted West Virginia State Police to report that a 5-year-old girl was wandering the halls of the hotel by herself.

When police investigated, they discovered that the child was in a room with her grandmother, a woman who identified herself to police first as Barbara Hatfield, then as her current name of Barbara Gore, according to the Magistrate Court complaint. Gore told police that the defendant, Hatfield, had left the hotel to pick up food.

While waiting on Hatfield to return, police searched the room with Gore’s permission and discovered two empty bags of “a green, leafy substance,” a blue smoking implement with residue and a syringe, vodka and a medication bottle with the name “Barbara Gore” on the prescription label, according to Trooper J.M. Browning.

When Hatfield arrived at the hotel, she was carrying food but also had an unopened bag of “Heavenly Grass” sticking out of her pants pocket and a smoking instrument, police reported.

Hatfield allegedly told police she’d been smoking synthetic marijuana that day but did not recall how much.

When Senior Trooper J.B. Frye determined that both Hatfield and Gore were chemically impaired, he told Hatfield to make arrangements for a family member to come get the child.

Hatfield’s brother picked up the child and both Hatfield and Gore were arrested for possession of the drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Hatfield was charged with child neglect for leaving the child in Gore’s custody while Gore was impaired.

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