BUCKHANNON, W.Va. (WBOY) — The 1-year-old who was seriously injured in a way consistent with “shaken baby” syndrome has passed away, the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department said.
The sheriff’s department said that deputies were informed of the child’s death on Saturday evening and that they are now in discussion with the Upshur County Prosecutor’s Office about additional or modified charges for the suspects, 25-year-old Ciera Gillespie and 27-year-old Thomas Cunningham.
They were arrested after an incident last month when deputies were initially called to a Buckhannon home about “an infant’s drug overdose,” but found a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old with injuries consistent with “shaken baby” syndrome.
The 2-year-old was pronounced dead at Ruby Memorial Hospital on Nov. 30. The doctor stated the child had died in a “manner of death” that was “a traumatic injury consistent with ‘shaken baby’,” and that “the retinal injuries were the worst he had seen in 20 years,” according to the complaint against the suspects.
The complaint alleges that this happened when Cunningham “used a Percocet to get high while he was left in the care and custody of the two infant children.”
Cunningham was initially charged with child abuse resulting in injury and child abuse resulting in the death of a child, and Gillespie was initially charged with child neglect resulting in death and child neglect resulting in serious bodily injury in connection with the incident.
If the Upshur County Prosecutor’s Office and Upshur County Sheriff’s Department decide that additional or modified charges are in order following the 1-year-old’s death, those charges could change.