Couple facing felony child neglect charges

ELKINS – An Elkins couple was arrested Thursday on child neglect charges after allegedly leaving a 3-month-old baby unattended in a vehicle in below-freezing temperatures.

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 on Wednesday from the staff of Dairy Queen in Elkins that the couple “had left an infant in the vehicle unattended,” according to the criminal complaint.

Trooper First Class J. R. Wince, the investigating officer, reportedly spoke with several

employees at Dairy Queen who told him that Helmick and Evans came inside with two juveniles. One of the juveniles entered the restaurant with a baby carrier, according to the complaint, and after being in the store for a few minutes the juvenile “carried the baby carrier back out to the (family’s) vehicle” and “returned without the baby.”

Wince wrote that “after several minutes, the staff became concerned and went outside to check on the infant,” and when they did, they found the baby “sitting in the back of the vehicle” unattended, without the engine running.

According to the complaint, the temperature outside was approximately 28 degrees.

The staff told Wince 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.

Helmick and Evans are being held in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail on $50,000 cash bond.