Judge allows child abuse allegations to go forward

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Associated Press

Posted on July 4, 2014 at 5:01 PM

BARBOURVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky judge has ordered three people charged with nearly starving to death a young child held on $10,000 bond each.

WYMT-TV in Hazard reported (http://bit.ly/1vFu2pQ ) that the cases of 31-year-old James M. Abner, 32-year-old Jessica Schneider and 54-year-old Sherry King will go to a grand jury. Each is charged with criminal abuse.

The Knox County Attorney said the trio starved a 3-year-old boy nearly to death in January. Prosecutors say the boy was so malnourished, he spent 20 days in critical condition at UK Children's Hospital.

Defense attorneys have argued that the boy was born prematurely, weighing only a pound-and-a-half at birth, which caused ongoing health problems.

Investigators said the boy is now four years old and in custody of other relatives.

Knox County Attorney Gilbert Holland said the child was in extremely bad condition when investigators found him. Holland said prosecutors did not file the charges until June because they spent time seeking medical opinions as to whether there was a condition to cause the boy to be malnourished. He said they filed charged when doctors said there was no medical reason.

"When we removed the child, he couldn't walk, now the child can run," Holland said. "We found no doctor that could give us any medical reason for this. Since we have removed the child, the child has thrived."

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Information from: WYMT-TV, http://www.wkyt.com/wymtnews

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