BUCKHANNON – Two Upshur County residents were arrested for child abuse and child neglect after a neighbor requested a welfare check on the couple’s infant, who was afflicted with a severe diaper rash and allegedly living in unsanitary conditions.
Joshua Bean, 27, and Michelle Bean, 20, both of Buckhannon, were each arrested on one count of child abuse resulting in injury, a felony, and child neglect resulting in a risk of injury, a felony.
According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office filed by Trooper P.J. Robinette with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police on Sunday, Aug. 27, 12:40 p.m., Robinette arrived at Valley Green Drive in reference to a welfare check on a 10-to-11-month-old child.
While he was en route, the E911 Upshur County Communication Center told Robinette that the child had been seen by Upshur County EMS about 20-30 minutes before the welfare check request due to a severe diaper rash and that the infant’s father, Joshua Bean, had refused EMS transport but said he would take the child to the hospital himself.
The Comm Center also informed Robinette that after the child was seen by EMS, instead of taking the infant to the hospital, the father, Joshua Bean, allegedly left the child in the care and custody of the aforementioned neighbor and had not yet returned.
Robinette began looking for Michelle and Joshua Bean, who were located walking in front of another apartment building. Robinette asked if their child had been seen earlier in the day by EMS. According to the police report, Michelle Bean replied, “Umm yeah, he has a diaper rash or yeast infection; I went to St. Joseph’s about it many times. They said it was a diaper rash.”
Robinette asked why their child was currently in the custody of their neighbor, and Michelle Bean stated, “They said they would watch him a couple days.”
Robinette then pointed out that EMS had just departed less than an hour prior and suggested that their child be seen for medical treatment. Robinette then asked why they would leave the child with their neighbor instead of taking him to the hospital.
Michelle Bean replied that the neighbor’s sister planned take them to the hospital. Robinette then went back to the neighbor’s and saw the child. According to the police report, the neighbor took the diaper off the child, at which time Robinette observed “a bright red raised rash with blisters over the entire groin area to include his genitalia, down his legs and buttocks.”
The neighbor stated the child reportedly had suffered from the rash for four months and stated her neighbors – the child’s parents – allegedly would not take the infant for medical treatment, the file says. The neighbor stated she wanted to take the child to the hospital, but the hospital would not allow her without a parent present.
After speaking with the neighbor, Robinette accompanied Michelle and Joshua Bean to their apartment, where he observed the living room was observed to be dirty and in disarray. According to the report, three dirty mattresses with holes exposing springs were on the floor along with two soiled diapers lying between the mattresses.
The criminal complaint says miscellaneous pieces of trash were also observed on the floor. Robinette asked the two to show him where the child was bathed. Joshua Bean directed him upstairs and into a bathroom. Robinette allegedly observed a swarm of gnats flying over the toilet and shower and saw “a large pile of feces in the toilet,” which Joshua Bean explained by saying he “forgot to flush,” according to the report.
Robinette then looked into a bedroom adjacent to the bathroom and observed a baby’s crib in the corner. From the doorway, Robinette saw several piles of dog feces on the floor. Robinette entered the room but, upon doing so, was allegedly “unable to walk about without looking down as to not step on feces because there were so many,” the file states.
In addition, the crib’s mattress was allegedly covered with urine stains and dried feces, and a blanket in the crib was also covered in feces, according to the report. Joshua Bean allegedly told police the urine and feces stains were from their child. Robinette then asked Joshua and Michelle Bean how long it had been since their child had slept in the room, to which Michelle Bean replied, “Uh, about a week. We’ve been having him sleep in his bassinet downstairs.”
After Robinette asked more questions, the Beans allegedly admitted to Robinette that their child had been sleeping on a soiled mattress for a week. Robinette then asked how long the dog feces had been in the child’s bedroom, and Michelle Bean reportedly stated she had been trying to tell her sister to clean it up as it was from her dog, according to the report.
Robinette asked when their child was last bathed, and after a conversation, Michelle Bean claimed it was Friday, Aug. 25; the trooper then asked if she believed it appropriate for them not to bathe their child for two days, given the severity of the rash to which she replied, “No, sir.”
Robinette then returned downstairs with Joshua and Michelle Bean and asked to see the baby’s tub.
Michelle Bean entered the kitchen, retrieved a blue baby bathtub, and showed Robinette. Robinette saw something brown sticking to the inside of the bathtub and asked what it was. Michelle Bean replied, “Food – my cousin was making spaghetti and got sauce in it.”
Robinette then looked at the sink and allegedly observed it to be “full of dirty, used dishes with dried food and a swarm of gnats flying above them,” according to the file. Michelle Bean informed Robinette the dishes were from the day prior and stated the couple did not have soap to wash the dishes.
Robinette then observed the bassinet, which both parents stated the child had been recently sleeping in. The bassinet appeared dirty and wet, with dried feces on the inside, according to the file.
Upshur County Magistrate Mark Davis set bail at $10,000 cash or surety for each individual charged.
The penalty for a conviction of child abuse resulting in injury is a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 and confinement in a state penitentiary for not less than one nor more than five years, or in the discretion of the court, confinement in jail for not more than one year.
In addition, the penalty for child neglect resulting in the risk of injury is a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $3,000 dollars, imprisonment in a state penitentiary for one to five years or both.