Mill Creek woman charged with child neglect

A Mill Creek woman is free on bond after being arrested on charges of child neglect Monday.

Sheryl L. Lanham, 52, was charged with child neglect creating risk of injury, a felony, stemming from an incident that occurred in February during which she allegedly refused to take custody of her grandchild, for whom she is the court-ordered guardian.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the Randolph County Magistrate Clerk’s office, Cpl. A.G. Vanscoy with the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the Beverly area in response to a reckless driving complaint. Vanscoy received a report that a gray Chevrolet Cobalt driven by a female was traveling at a high rate of speed along U.S. 219/250, passing other cars in curves and no passing zones. One caller told the Randolph County E911 Center that the vehicle had run him off the road.

While he was parked in the lot attached to Champion Auto, Vanscoy allegedly spotted the car, which was traveling at a speed of 70 mph, and initiated a traffic stop.

The officer saw Niketa Lanham in the driver’s seat of the car and and a small child in a car seat in the back seat of the vehicle. Niketa Lanham, who allegedly told Vanscoy she had no driver’s license, told Vanscoy she was taking the 1-year-old child to Davis Memorial Hospital because the child had a fever, the complaint states.

Vanscoy had reportedly served a temporary protective order/petition on Niketa Lanham Feb. 17, awarding custody of the child to Niketa Lanham’s mother, Sheryl Lanham. Niketa Lanham is the biological mother of the 1-year-old child, according to the complaint.

At approximately 1:53 p.m., Vanscoy called Sheryl Lanham, the court-ordered guardian of the 1-year-old, in an attempt to transfer custody to her and notify her of the child’s alleged medical condition, the complaint states. Sheryl Lanham allegedly told Vanscoy, “I don’t want those damn kids anymore, they are always sick” and informed Vanscoy that she no longer wanted custody of her grandchild. A second time, Vanscoy asked Sheryl Lanham to pick up the child, but she allegedly “refused to gain custody or provide care for the child,” Vanscoy wrote.

Vanscoy had Randolph County EMS take the child to Davis Memorial Hospital, where Sheryl Lanham reportedly agreed to pick the child up later that afternoon, the complaint states.

Magistrate George M. Riggleman set bond at $25,000 property or surety; Sheryl Lanham is free on bond.

The penalty for a conviction of child neglect creating risk of injury is a fine of up to $3,000 and confinement in the state penitentiary for one to five years.

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