Oak Hill pageant queen stripped of title after arrest in child death

Julie Titchenell Browning, the 2018 Ms. Oak Leaf Festival and 2019 Mrs. Oak Leaf Festival and Miss West Virginia Spectacular America 2019, was arrested Tuesday for a charge of death by a parent or guardian and a charge of child neglect causing death, both felonies, in the Dec. 26, 2018, death of her stepdaughter, 8-year-old Raylee Browning.

The 2019 Mrs. Oak Leaf Festival was stripped by pageant officials of her title on Tuesday after she was arrested for a felony charge of death of a child by a parent or guardian and child neglect causing death.

Julie Titchenell, 36, of Hilltop, who is listed as Julie Browning in Oak Leaf Festival pageant promotional materials, was at Southern Regional Jail on a $100,000 bond for the Dec. 26, 2018, death of 8-year-old Raylee Browning.

Her sister, Sherie Titchenell, 35, was also arrested on identical charges, along with Raylee's father, 34-year-old Marty Browning, both of Hilltop.

Oak Hill Police Department had started an investigation into Raylee's death in December 2018, while Julie was the 2018 Ms. Oak Leaf Festival queen.

The three adults lived in the same house, according to a police complaint, and Sherie took care of Raylee and Julie's three children. The criminal complaint alleges that all three adults singled out Raylee for abuse, including banning her from drinking liquids for three days, forcing her to sleep on the floor wearing a diaper and striking her with various objects.

Court documents suggested that Julie and Browning were not married at the time of Raylee's death, but a Fayette official referred to Julie as the girl's stepmother in comments made to media on Tuesday.

Julie had been a fourth runner-up in the Miss Spectacular America National Pageants in July. She represented West Virginia in the national pageant.

In August, Julie was crowned the 2019 Mrs. Oak Leaf Festival at the annual Oak Leaf Pageant.

Pageant officials stripped her of the title on Tuesday, after news of her arrest broke, pageant spokeswoman Jessica Poticher announced.

Many Oak Hill residents expressed outrage against Julie's alleged actions to pageant officials in social media posts on Tuesday evening, and pageant officials said they were saddened by the information contained in the criminal complaint.

In 2014, Browning had been listed as the contact for a Girl Scouts "survivor" camp in Summersville.

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