Mother to appear in court Thursday for child endangerment charges following 2019 death of 3-year-old girl in Wythe County

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WYTHE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — More than a year after a toddler’s body was found in the New River in Wythe County, her mother is set to appear in court Thursday morning to face child endangerment charges.

Three-year-old Josie Burleson was last seen near the New River Trail off Bertha Farms Road in Wythe County in July 2019. After searching for more than five and a half hours, authorities say Josie’s body was found 100 yards downstream of where law enforcement found child-sized footprints at the New River.

“Probably one of the worst things for first responders is that it is a small child, because that tugs at your heart a little bit more,” said Wythe County Sheriff Keith Dunagan.

At the time, the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office said Kimberly Moore — Josie’s mother — and her boyfriend, Adrian Neil Puckett, were under the influence of drugs when the 3-year-old went missing.

While Moore and Puckett were initially held on charges of felony child neglect and felony child endangerment, a grand jury formally charged both of them with two counts of felony child endangerment back in January, the Wythe County Circuit Clerk’s office told WFXR News.

Moore is set to appear in court for the child endangerment charges at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13.

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