Child neglect case will go to grand jury

ELKINS – An Elkins couple that was arrested Jan. 16 on child neglect charges – after allegedly leaving a 3-month-old baby unattended in a vehicle in below-freezing temperatures – waived their rights to a preliminary hearing in Randolph County Magistrate Court this week.

Heather Marie Helmick, 30, and Billy Jo Evans, 31, were each arrested on one count of child neglect creating risk of injury, a felony, after West Virginia State Police officials received a complaint from the staff of Dairy Queen in Elkins that the couple “had left an infant in the vehicle unattended,” according to the criminal complaint.

The restaurant staff told Trooper First Class J. R. Wince, the responding officer, that the infant was “left outside in the cold, unattended for approximately 15-20 minutes” while the family ate their meal, the complaint states.

Wince spoke to Helmick and Evans and found that the infant was Evans’ niece, according to the complaint.

On Monday, Helmick and Evans and their attorneys, Timothy Prentice and Dwight Hall, respectively, waived their rights to a preliminary hearing in exchange for early discovery.

Magistrate Rob Elbon agreed to reduce bond from $50,000 cash only to $10,000 cash, property or surety each, with the condition that neither Helmick nor Evans can have contact with children under the age of 18, except for their own.

The case will be bound over to Randolph County Circuit Court.

Also in Magistrate Court Monday:

  • A Belington man facing multiple charges, including burglary, waived his right to a preliminary hearing before Elbon.

Michael P. Crites, 33, was arrested Jan. 17 on one count of burglary, one count of forgery and one count of uttering, all felonies, according to court documents.

Due to Crites’ decision to waive his right to a preliminary hearing, the matter will be bound over to Circuit Court.

In November, Crites was arrested on two counts of forgery, three counts of uttering, and two counts of fraudulent use of an access device, all felonies. In December, he was arrested on one count of forgery and one count of uttering.