UPDATE: Mother and Grandmother Charged in Connection with Baby Abuse Case

By: Brooks Jarosz; Andrew Colegrove Email
By: Brooks Jarosz; Andrew Colegrove Email

UPDATE 1/10/13 @ 10 p.m.
LINCOLN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A family is at odds with each other after what happened to a 1-month-old baby girl.

Jim Robinson is the step-grandfather of the baby who had to spend weeks in the hospital.

"She had broken bones, a fractured skull and blood on the brain," Robinson said.

After an investigation that began in October, troopers in Lincoln County arrested the baby's mother, Melissa Fleming, and her mother-in-law, Deborah Woodall.

Fleming was charged with child abuse resulting in serious injury, domestic battery, and malicious assault. Woodall was charged with child neglect resulting in serious injury.

"For Melissa to do this to a 1-month-old child, something is wrong with her,” Robinson, who's the step-grandfather on the other side of the family, said. “The good lord needs to help her, but she still needs to go to jail for what she's done to this child. Her mother tried to help cover it up, so she should share a jail cell with her."

Both women were released on a personal recognizance bond, granted by the Lincoln County circuit court judge.

Robinson believes that is not harsh enough.

"It’s very much a lack of justice overall,” he said. “We have people stopped all the time for traffic violations, DUI charges and such, and have to pay at least 5 thousand dollars for a bond, and that's a misdemeanor. This is a felony where a child's life was endangered."

Robinson went to the Lincoln County Courthouse Thursday hoping to get answers, but that judge was off.

Twice this week crews from WSAZ stopped at the Woodall home where the baby was abused to try to talk with them. Nobody answered the door either time.

LINCOLN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A mother and grandmother were arrested after police say they uncovered a disturbing case of baby abuse.

It's been more than a two-month investigation involving a 1-month-old baby girl found with bruises, broken bones and a fractured skull.

West Virginia State Police tell WSAZ.com that baby has recovered and is staying with other family members now.

Melissa Fleming, 29, was charged with child abuse resulting in serious injury, domestic battery and malicious assault.

Troopers say it began with a call from a hospital nurse, explaining a baby had been admitted for an infection but found with a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain and broken bones.

Trooper launched a suspected baby abuse investigation in late October 2012, sending them to rural Lincoln County. Melissa Fleming lived at a home along Buffalo Creek Road with her infant and a toddler.

Police questioned Fleming about the bruises and broken bones. At first, she denied hurting the baby saying, "not that I recall," according to the criminal complaint. The Fleming admitted she had bipolar disorder and said, "If I blacked out, maybe." However, later she said, "I didn't mean to do it if I did do it."

The baby girl was put on a ventilator and found with what appeared to be bite marks on the baby's face. Fleming claimed to troopers her toddler bit the baby.

However, Fleming's mother, Deborah Woodall, 57, told police Fleming was behind the abuse. Woodall refused to report Fleming, saying she was trying to "fix it," according to the criminal complaint.

WSAZ.com went to their home Tuesday where it appeared several people were home, but no one came to either door.

Troopers say the day they questioned Fleming about the baby she overdosed on prescription pills at the hospital.

Days later, Fleming's husband gave police a letter following the alleged baby abuse. In it, Melissa Fleming said, "It was my meds mixed all together making me into the bad, mean person I became when I did that."

Fleming went on to say, "So sorry for what I've done. I deserve the death sentence. I want to die for what I've done."

Melissa Fleming was charged with child abuse resulting in serious injury, and Deborah Woodall was charged with child neglect resulting in serious injury.

Both were released on personal recognizance bond, despite those charges. Troopers anod other family members are trying to figure out why.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

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