UPDATE: Parents Arrested in Children's Death

By: Anna Baxter; Andrew Colegrove Email
By: Anna Baxter; Andrew Colegrove Email
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Kyle Ralph Penson, 27, and Ashley Nicole Penson, 24 are charged with Child Neglect Resulting in Death.

MGN Online

UPDATE 6/11/14 @ 11:30 A.M.
FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A mother and father have been arrested in connection with the deaths of their two infant children.

Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler says Kyle Ralph Penson, 27, and Ashley Nicole Penson, 24 are charged with Child Neglect Resulting in Death. The couple turned themselves in early Wednesday morning.

Back on March 11, Fayette County 911 received a call about infant unconscious and not breathing at a residence in the Mountainair Mobile Home Park in Hilltop.

Sheriff Kessler says a few minutes later 911 received a second call concerning a second infant at this same residence who was also unconscious and not breathing.

The children were taken to a local hospital were they died a short time alter.

The Sheriff says a third young child was also taken to the hospital as a safety precaution, but this child was found to be in good health.

Autopsy results were returned to investigators on Monday. Based on those findings and results of the criminal investigation the charges were filed.

The Sheriff says that according to the criminal complaint, both parents admitted during the investigation to consuming alcohol and/or drugs before going to sleep on the living room floor with their three young children. The investigation has determined that both children apparently died due to parental overlay during the nighttime hours.

“Co-sleeping- the act of parents sleeping in the same bed with young infant children- poses a significant risk of death to these young children,” said Sheriff Kessler. “It is very easy for an adult to roll over in his or her sleep and restrict an infant’s breathing. This can result in death very quickly.”

Sheriff Kessler added that because both parents admitted that they consumed alcohol and/or drugs before lying down in the floor to sleep with their children, they significantly increased the risk factor for these children, as the “chemically-enhanced stupor of the parents made it less likely that they would have been awakened by the distress of these infants as their oxygen supply was reduced through parental overlay. “

Kessler says this why both parents are charged with Child Neglect Resulting in Death.

Bond has been set at $25,000 for each parent.



UPDATE 3/12/14 @ 4:40 p.m.
HILLTOP, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Fayette County Sheriff's Office says preliminary autopsy reports indicate no trauma in the deaths of two young children.

The children, a 1-year-old girl and a 3-month-old boy, were both found unconscious Tuesday at a home in the Mountainair Mobile Home Park in Hilltop.

Deputies called to the home performed CPR until an emergency crew arrived. The children were pronounced dead at Plateau Medical Center in Oak Hill.

The Sheriff's Office says autopsies were performed on the children Wednesday morning and preliminary results indicate that neither of the children suffered from any trauma. Suffocation and strangulation have been tentatively ruled out as possible causes of death, according to Sheriff Steve Kessley.

"A final determination of the cause and manner of death cannot be made until toxicology tests have been completed," said Sheriff Kessler. "Basically the laboratory will be testing samples of hair, blood and urine in an effort to determine if these infants ingested or were exposed to any toxic substances- drugs, poison or something else- that caused their deaths."

"These tests take time,"said Sheriff Kessler. "Everyone involved in this tragic incident- the parents and family members of the infant children, law enforcement and the public- wants to know how and why these children died. Until these necessary tests are completed we won't know the answers to these questions, and we're not going to speculate about a cause and manner of death until these answers are known."

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 3/12/14 @ 8:15 a.m.
HILLTOP, W.Va. (AP) -- Police say foul play isn't suspected in the deaths of two Fayette County children found unconscious in their mobile home.

Fayette County sheriff's Capt. James Sizemore says carbon monoxide poisoning also isn't suspected. He tells media outlets that firefighters using carbon monoxide detectors found no indication of the gas in the home.

Sizemore says the victims were a 1-year-old girl and her 3-month-old brother. He says the mother found both children unconscious and not breathing Tuesday morning after she awoke.

Deputies called to the home performed CPR until an emergency crew arrived. The children were pronounced dead at Plateau Medical Center in Oak Hill.

Their bodies were sent to the state medical examiner.

The children's 4-year-old brother was taken to the hospital for observation. Sizemore says he wasn't harmed.



UPDATE 3/11/14 @ 9 p.m.
FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Two babies have died, and investigators say they still don’t know what happened to them.

The Fayette County Sheriff's Department said about 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Mountainair Mobile Home Park in Hilltop, a mother and father called 911 after finding their 3-month old son and 1-year-old daughter unconscious.

Deputies say they performed CPR on those children until an ambulance arrived and took them to Plateau Medical Center in Oak Hill, where they were pronounced dead.

"For two infants to die at the same time in the same house is just abnormally unusual,” Capt. Jim Sizemore said, “and we're going to do everything humanly possible to determine why this occurred."

Dean Geisbert is a family friend who lives in that neighborhood.

"It's bizarre that something like that would happen to such young children, especially being as well taken care of by their parents as they are," Geisbert said.

Investigators say they've found no signs of foul play. They've ruled out carbon monoxide poisoning. Whatever the answer ends up being, they say nothing can erase the pain left by this tragedy.

"We're not pointing any fingers at anyone,” Sizemore said. “We just don't know what happened."

The bodies have been sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Charleston.

Their 4-year-old brother was also home at the time, deputies said. He was taken to the hospital as a precaution, but the sheriff's department says he was fine.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



ORIGINAL STORY 3/11/14 @ 12:41 p.m.
FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Fayette County Sheriff's Department is investigating the death of two small children.

Sheriff's Deputies say they responded to a trailer at the Mountainair Mobile Home Park in Hilltop about 9 a.m. Tuesday after someone called 911 to report two children unconscious and not breathing.

According to a news release, once deputies arrived on scene they started CPR until EMS crews got there. The children were taken to Plateau Medical Center where they were later pronounced dead.

One child was one year old. The other child was three months old.

The cause of their deaths is unknown at this time.

The Fayette County Sheriff's Department is having a news conference at 2:45 p.m. to release more information.

We will have a crew there. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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