2-Year-Old Found Unresponsive in Bathtub; Father Charged

By: Kristen Schneider; Andrew Colegrove Email
By: Kristen Schneider; Andrew Colegrove Email

UPDATE: 7/24/13 @ 9:30 p.m.
LINCOLN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A father is facing charges after his 2-year-old daughter was found unresponsive in a bathtub.

West Virginia State Police in Hamlin tell WSAZ.com Jason Riffe, 34, of Harts, is charged with child neglect resulting in injury and child neglect creating the risk of injury.

Troopers say the 2-year-old girl was left unsupervised on July 13 in the bathtub at his home on Frances Creek Road in Harts for a significant period of time.

She was flown to Cabell Huntington Hospital and was listed in critical condition.

She was released from the hospital Sunday. She and her 8-month-old sister are now in the custody of Child Protective Services.

According to the criminal complaint, Riffe told troopers he left his daughter in the bathtub for 10 to 20 seconds while he went to get a towel from another room. He says he heard a noise and when he went back into the bathroom, he found the girl unresponsive.

Doctors say after assessing the little girl's condition, there is no way the extent of her injuries could occur during the time frame of events described by Riffe.

The complaint also states Riffe's girlfriend and the child’s mother, Jessica Nicholson, told troopers Riffe has a history of drug use and has manufactured meth at their home several times.

However, in an interview with WSAZ.com Wednesday evening, Nicholson said Riffe hasn’t used drugs since their kids were born, and she says he has never made meth in their home, and she denies telling troopers otherwise.

"He does not sell dope,” Nicholson said. “He does not make meth. We do not do drugs. There are no drugs in this home, and I think it's very sad a father has to be in jail tonight away from his kids and not be able to see his kids.”

Troopers say Riffe later admitted to taking a Xanax pill while at the hospital.

Riffe turned himself in to State Police Wednesday afternoon.

"He was not high,” Nicholson said. “There was nothing wrong with him. The only thing wrong with him was he was shaken up just like anyone else would be if you'd seen what he had to see."

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