UPDATE: Man Indicted on Murder Charges in Death of 10-Month-Old - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Man Indicted on Murder Charges in Death of 10-Month-Old Girl

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Photo provided by the family Photo provided by the family
JACKSON COUNTY, WV -

UPDATE (10/31/16 11:00 AM):

Benjamin Taylor has been indicted on multiple charges after the sexual assault and death of 10-month-old Emmaleigh Barringer.

According to Jackson County court officials, Taylor has been indicted on charges of child abuse, sexual assault, and murder.

Taylor was indicted on Wednesday, October 26th, 2016.


UPDATE (10/12/16 11:00 AM): A Jackson County judge has found probable cause against suspect Benjamin Taylor for both 1st-degree murder and 1st-degree sexual assault of 10-month-old Emmaleigh Barringer.

Three witnesses took the stand Wednesday morning in an hour-and-a-half court proceeding: Emmaleigh's mother Amanda Adkins, one of the first deputy sheriffs on scene of the violent attack, and the chief medical examiner who performed Emmaleigh's autopsy.

In her testimony, Adkins says both she and Taylor had been drinking and smoking marijuana the night before the attack. 

Adkins says she went to bed around 9 p.m. on Oct. 2. She says she doesn't remember whether she or Taylor laid Emmaleigh down to sleep that night. She added, it was not unusual for Taylor to help take care of Emmaleigh in the middle of the night. Choking back tears, she said, "I thought he loved them."

On Oct. 3, Adkins says she went to the basement around 4:45 a.m. and found Emmaleigh naked on a pile of laundry alongside Taylor who had his shirt off and pants unbuttoned. After seeing blood and injuries on Emmaleigh, Adkins says she picked up the 10-month-old and screamed: "What did you do to her?"

Adkins says Taylor didn't give her a response.

In her testimony, Adkins says she ran upstairs and immediately dialed 911.

Jackson County Deputy M. Casto, one of the first law enforcement officials on the scene of the gruesome attack, says he collected an audio statement from Taylor on Oct. 3 about what happened.

The state submitted the audio statement as evidence in the case.

In the audio - played inside the courtroom - the male voice identified as Taylor claims he blacked out and couldn't remember what had happened. Casto says Taylor's claims of his mind being "so far blank" contradicts what Taylor had told deputies earlier - that Taylor had heard Emmaleigh crying, that he saw blood "running" and that he tried to "swipe" her to clean off or stop the blood. 

In the audio tape, Taylor said he had been drinking beer and smoking weed on Oct. 2. Casto said he did not seem "overly intoxicated" while answering law enforcement's questions and that he was able to provide intelligent answers.

Dr. Allen Mock, chief medical examiner for the state of West Virginia, also spoke in court Wednesday. Mock performed the autopsy of Emmaleigh and determined the manner of her death was a homicide. 

About a half dozen of Emmaleigh's family members were in the courtroom during the proceedings, several of them visibly emotional.

Our reporters could not see Taylor's face throughout the proceeding.


Because of the high-profile nature of this case, seven law enforcement agencies were at the courtroom Wednesday: Ravenswood Police, Ripley Police, Jackson County Sheriff's Office, West Virginia State Police, WVDNR, the U.S. Marshal's Office and the Fire Marshal's Office.

Taylor was wearing a bullet-proof vest while in court. 

Taylor is back in the custody of the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

Taylor's case will next be taken before a grand jury.


UPDATE (10/6/16 9:00 AM): Benjamin Taylor has been charged with first degree murder in Jackson County Magistrate Court in the death of 9-month-old Emmaleigh Barringer.  The charge carries a life sentence and no bond.

Taylor has asked for a preliminary hearing and a court appointed lawyer.


UPDATE (10/5/16 10:14 PM):

Family members of the 9-month-old baby that passed away after being sexually assaulted released this statement to 13 News.

 "At this time, we regret to say that the injuries sustained from the attack on our child, Emmaleigh Elizabeth Barringer, have resulted in her death. First, we would like to thank the Jackson County police for their thorough investigation.  We believe that it points directly to Benjamin Taylor as the person responsible for this heinous act. Second, we want to thank the hospital and staff at CAMC for their efforts in attempting to save and sustain the life of our child. Finally, we would like to assure anyone with any doubt that this crime against an innocent child was solely perpetrated by a monster who had disguised himself as a caring and supporting friend. Emmaleigh's mother and surviving siblings were victims in this and are guilty only of placing trust in the hands of a "wolf in sheep's clothing". We have set up a GoFundMe account for donations from the public to help the victims recover from this tragedy and aid in the funeral and burial costs that will be incurred. 

https://www.gofundme.com/3oe5us"

The family plans to hold funeral services for Emmaleigh in Maryland sometime next week. 


UPDATE (10/5/16 3:10 PM): The family confirms with 13 News that the infant was taken off of life support and has passed away. 

According to Jackson County Sheriff's Office Benjamin Taylor will be charged with murder.


UPDATE (10/4/16 5:00 PM): According to the family of the victim, the infant girl is clinically brain dead.


ORIGINAL:

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office tells 13 News they are investigating a sex assault case against a 9-month-old baby. 

Sheriff's Office officials confirm Benjamin Taylor, the baby's mother's boyfriend, is charged with first degree sexual assault. 

Investigators say the baby is currently in critical condition. 

A Jackson County Sheriff's Deputy responded to an emergency call regarding an unresponsive 9-month-old girl.

Upon questioning the mother, police learned that she found Taylor in the basement of the apartment with the infant and the lights turned off. When she questioned Taylor about the injuries, he replied he didn't know how the injuries to the infant occurred.

When the Deputy spoke with Taylor, he said that he had taken the infant to the basement of the house around 10 PM the night before while he was doing laundry. Taylor said that everyone else was asleep and he, at some point, laid the baby on a blanket on the floor, and that the infant's physical condition was just fine.

When the Deputy inquired further of Taylor about the infant's injuries and how they had occurred, Taylor stated that he had "blacked out" and didn't know how they had occurred.

Taylor later changed his story and said that he did not know of any blood from or injury to the baby until the mother came and took the baby from him upon discovering them in the basement together. Taylor did say that the infant was in his care, custody, and control the entire time from the time everyone went to bed the previous evening until the time the mother found him in the basement with the victim.

A search warrant was obtained for the clothing of Benjamin Taylor, as well as for his blood / DNA samples. 

According to the criminal complaint, detectives believe that Benjamin Ryan Taylor sexually assaulted the infant, and in doing so caused serious life threatening injuries to the victim. Additionally, Taylor did nothing in an effort to save the victim's life as a result of the said injuries sustained in the assault.

Taylor is being held at South Central Regional Jail on $2 Million Bond.

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