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5-year-old found in closed vehicle trunk released from the hospital

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 2:25 PM EDT
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UPDATE 8/26/21 @ 10:25 p.m.

JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Parker Roberts, the 5-year-old boy who was trapped inside a closed vehicle trunk on one of the hottest days of summer, has been release from the hospital.

Family members passed along that news Thursday night.

Parker was found Tuesday near his home along Bobo Street in the Cottageville area of Jackson County. Temperatures that day soared above 90 degrees.

His parents, Nantail Roberts, 24, and Corey Roberts, 22, both of Cottageville, were arrested and are facing felony child neglect charges. They remain in South Central Regional Jail with a bond of $250,000.

Family tell us that Parker and his three young siblings are staying with other family members.

UPDATE 8/25/21 @ 4:05 p.m.

JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A 5-year-old boy who was was flown to the hospital Tuesday after being found in a closed vehicle trunk was taken off a ventilator Wednesday night, his family said.

WSAZ now knows the boy’s name is Parker Roberts. Family said he is doing much better Wednesday night, although he remains in the hospital.

Earlier Wednesday, Parker was listed in stable condition and answering “yes” or “no” questions.

“It’s still not a tragedy because ultimately, you may not know for several years down the road what kind of long standing repercussions this may have on a young boy like that,” Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger said earlier on Wednesday.

The incident happened at a mobile home park along Bobo Street in the Cottageville area -- on a day when air temperatures soared above 90 degrees. Investigators think Parker had been shut in the trunk for 45 minutes to two hours. He was cold to the touch when first responders found him. The sheriff said temperatures in the trunk were around 130 degrees.

Sheriff Mellinger says if Parker would have been in the trunk just a few minutes longer, it could have been a deadly situation.

”Routinely, these kids would get out of bed between nine and 10 a.m. everyday and fend for themselves for hours upon hours while the parents would sleep during the course of the midday activities,” Mellinger said. Kids are kids. They like to play and they like to get into things and that sort of thing, so without the proper supervision it’s hard to tell what they are going to get into and in this case how long they’ve been subjected to the extreme heat in the trunk of that car.”

The boys’ parents, Nantail Roberts, 24, and Corey Roberts, 22, both of Cottageville, were arrested and are facing felony child neglect charges. They are in South Central Regional Jail with a bond of $250,000.

Investigators said the couple’s mobile home, which was shared by four young children, was in “deplorable” condition.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

ORIGINAL STORY

JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A 5-year-old boy was flown to the hospital Tuesday afternoon after being found in a closed vehicle trunk, Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger said.

“We found this boy, who at that time had been removed from the vehicle, clearly unconscious, barely breathing, exposed to some extreme heat for extended periods of time and clearly fighting for his life,” said Mellinger.

The parents, Nantail Roberts, 24, and Corey Roberts, 22, of Cottageville were arrested and are now facing felony child neglect charges.

Nantail Roberts, 24, and Cory Roberts, 22, are arraigned on child neglect charges after their...
Nantail Roberts, 24, and Cory Roberts, 22, are arraigned on child neglect charges after their 5-year-old boy was found in a closed trunk in Jackson County, West Virginia, during one of the hottest days of the year.(WSAZ)

The sheriff said the incident happened at a mobile home park along Bobo Street in the Cottageville area around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Mellinger said altogether there were four children in the home ranging from ages 1 to 5.

“The boy was actually found by a neighbor, the neighbor had this vehicle he owned that was parked here at this residence with their blessing,” Mellinger told WSAZ. “He apparently goes to try to sell this vehicle and show (it) to the perspective buyer, pops the trunk and there lays this unconscious boy.”

On Tuesday, temperatures were soaring into the 90s and at this point, it’s still unclear how long the boy was inside the trunk or how he got there in the first place.

“It’d be hard to say whether this was just a tragic accident through neglect and basically just parents that just don’t really care much about their children, I hate to say it that way,” said Mellinger. “It would be hard for me to fathom and believe with situations like this, the kids are nothing more than a stimulus check to the parents.”

According to the criminal complaint, investigators also discovered unsanitary conditions inside the mobile home, including “an overpowering smell of feces and urine.” They said the other kids, including a 3-year-old girl, a 2-year-old boy and a 9-month-old infant, “appeared to be foul and unbathed.”

Nantail Roberts, 24, and Cory Roberts, 22, are arraigned on child neglect charges after their...
Nantail Roberts, 24, and Cory Roberts, 22, are arraigned on child neglect charges after their 5-year-old boy was found in a closed trunk in Jackson County, West Virginia.(WSAZ/Tori Yorgey)

“It was honest to goodness some of the filthiest and worst, nasty, dirty conditions I’ve seen in the 20 plus years I’ve been here. The chronic neglect, filth and nastiness of the home merited an arrest even without this incident.”

Investigators also described “a multitude of trash, rotten food, flies, maggots, dirty diapers, as well as clutter to the point that it restricted any movement within the home.”

The mother told investigators she had not seen the boy who was found in the trunk since around 12:30 to 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Both parents neglected to comment to WSAZ when asked.

The young boy is currently listed as critical at CAMC’s Womens and Children’s hospital in Charleston.

Both parents are facing one count of Child Neglect resulting in injury and three counts of Child Neglect creating risk of injury.

They are in South Central Regional Jail with a bond of $250,000.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

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