Woman faces child neglect charges after police find son dead - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Woman faces child neglect charges after police find son dead

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New details have surfaced in a child death investigation in Braxton County, West Virginia.  A child's body was found decomposing in his home, his mother is now charged with felony child neglect.

Initially, many questions were left unanswered because the information wasn't yet available but after meeting with the law enforcement agency handling this case, we know much more about that 8-year-old boy including why a hospice worker was stopping by in the first place. We learned that this isn't, the boy's mother, Valarie Brown's first run in with the law and we know more on the whereabouts of a second child living in that Sutton, West Virginia home.  

His name was Levi Burroughs, he was just 8-years-old at the time of his death.  Levi's body was discovered inside of a home in the 100 block of Salt Lick Road in Sutton, WV.

"It was clear to the trooper and the hospice worker that [Levi] had been dead for some time." Sergeant Baylous with the West Virginia State Police said.

We won't know exactly when or how Levi died until the coroner's report is released.  Right now, we do know that Levi suffered from Hurler Syndrome a rare illness only affecting about 1 in 200,000 people.  Children diagnosed with Hurler Syndrome often die before reaching age 10.

After Levi's mother, Valerie Brown, repeatedly refused to allow a hospice worker to check on him, state police were brought in.

"This infuriates me and the members of the West Virginia State Police as well as the citizens of West Virginia," Baylous said.

Brown has a history of drug use and according to Baylous, is no stranger to local law enforcement.  Brown is now in the Central Regional Jail on a $100,000 cash only bond.  She is charged with child abuse resulting in death.

"Her selfish desires got in the way of providing this child with the help that he needed," Baylous said.

As for brown's second child, a 6-year-old son, Baylous said, "he was not there when troopers went to that home."  He says the trooper was told that he was with a family member. 

Baylous says he hopes this story serves as a call to action for the citizens of West Virginia.  He hopes that when anyone sees, hears or even has the slightest inkling that a youth might be in danger, they call authorities immediately.



A routine child welfare check at a home in Braxton County leads to a ghastly discovery.

West Virginia State Police accompanied a hospice worker to a home on the 100 block of Salt Lick Rd in Sutton, WV Wednesday night.

Inside, they found the body of an eight-year-old special needs boy wrapped in a blanket.  Police believe he had been dead for several days.  They say his body had already begun decomposing.

The boy's mother, Valarie Lee Brown, was arrested Wednesday night and is now charged with felony child neglect resulting in death.

Brown's neighbors were shocked by the discovery.

"I'm a Vietnam veteran so there isn't a whole lot that shocks me," neighbor Paul Gogar said. But, Gogar says the discovery just next door to his home does.

"I'd expect this to happen over there [in Vietnam] but not next door." Gogar said.

Brown left behind more than five cats and two dogs that Gogar has taken it upon himself to care for in their owner's absence.

While neighbors say they are worried about the several animals left behind, they also worry about a second, younger special needs boy that they say lived in that same home.

"She had two kids," Gogar said.  "Both of them were autistic."

Gogar says he saw Brown leave with her younger son nearly a week ago.

"She left in her car last weekend, then she came back but her car never did come back," neither did her younger son Gogar said.

Brown is being held at the Central Regional Jail in Sutton.  Brown's bond is set at $100,000.



A Braxton County, WV woman is facing felony child neglect charges after police found her son dead in their home.

On June 7, police escorted a Hospice employee to conduct a juvenile welfare check.  They found Valarie Brown on the front porch of her home on Salt Lick Road. 

After being informed that they were there to check on her son, Brown told them he wasn't home.  When asked if they could look inside the home Brown consented, according to the criminal complaint.

Brown stated, "Please don't hurt [the boy]," as the Hospice employee entered the home.  Inside the home, the officer and the Hospice worker discovered the boy's body wrapped in a blanket.

According to police, the body had begun to decompose and they believe the boy had been dead for several days.

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