Investigators: 21-month-old dies from child abuse, 2 arrested and charged

Fayette County
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OAK HILL, WV (WVNS) — Two people are in jail and facing criminal charges in connection to the death of a 21-month-old girl, according to court documents. 

Fayette County Deputies arrested Shelva Marie Smith of Oak Hill on Thursday, October 25, 2018. Tyler Randall was also arrested in September in connection to the crime. 

Court documents state the investigation started on June 20, 2018 when deputies received a call from a social services worker at Charleston Area Medical Center about a child abuse complaint. The worker said a 21-month-old girl was brought to Plateau Medical Center unresponsive and had to be flown to CAMC. 

Doctors said the infant suffered from respiratory failure, swelling of the brain and bilateral retinal hemorrhages, believed to be caused by “Shaken Baby Syndrome.” Doctors said they suspected abuse to be the major factor of the child’s medical condition. The child died four days after being admitted to the hospital. The doctor said the child’s death was a result of traumatic brain injury due to abusive head trauma. 

The child’s mother, Smith, first told investigators the baby was asleep on the couch and when they picked her up, she was limp and unresponsive, so they rushed her to the hospital. During a search warrant at their home, deputies said they found signs of drug use including traces of heroin. 

Documents state Tyler Randall eventually admitted to investigators that he “playfully” shook the child two or three days before the little girl was taken to the hospital. Smith states she saw Randall holding the child in the air, but denied ever seeing him shake the baby. 

Deputies said it is clear from their investigation that Randall abused the 21-month-old, resulting in the infant’s death, and that Smith was aware of the abuse. Deputies also said it is clear the two used drugs while the child was in their care. 

Both Randall and Smith are charged with death of a child by a parent, guardian or custodian, and gross child neglect creating the risk of serious bodily injury or death. 

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