Couple sentenced in toddler’s death

PHILIPPI – A couple was sentenced Tuesday in Barbour County Circuit Court for causing the death of a toddler by a methamphetamine overdose.

David Lee Delauder, 38, and Ida Lee Evans, 32, both pleaded guilty on April 22 to one count of child neglect resulting in death and one count of conspiracy.

Delauder and Evans were sentenced Tuesday to three to 15 years in the West Virginia State Penitentiary for the child neglect charge and another one to five years to be served consecutively for the conspiracy charge.

Ona Delauder passed away on March 13, 2013, at the age of one year and 10 months. Methadone was revealed in the toddler’s system through a toxicology report, according to the criminal complaint.

During sentencing, Circuit Court Judge Alan Moats recalled a similar case from 25 years ago, in which a mother told him she was haunted by causing the death of her child.

“I don’t know if Ona will ever come to you in your sleep and stand at the bottom of your bed and say, ‘Mommy and Daddy, why did you do this?'” Moats said.

“At some point in time these little boys (Ona’s older brothers) need to be told the truth,” Moats said. “You both say you have no idea how the child got drugs in her system. Neither of you has accepted responsibility… I have not seen remorse from either of you throughout the entire proceedings.”

Prosecuting Attorney Leckta Poling read an impact statement on behalf of the child’s grandparents, saying Ona Delauder’s life was dependent upon her parents.

“Instead, no one stood up for this child,” Poling said. “She had no one in her life who protected her… they (Evans and Delauder) knew that they were going to get high and their drug addiction was going to take over and they would have no ability to care for this child… they are the ones who are responsible for her in her care and, ultimately, in her death. They didn’t seek medical treatment for her, knowing that she had been given some substance.”

Poling said a blood and hair sample of the toddler showed methadone had been given to her repeatedly.

“This was not the first time this child had received methadone,” Poling said. “Neither one of them cared enough to protect this child from harm’s way.”

Attorney Karen Johnson spoke on behalf of Ona’s two older brothers, ages 9 and 7.

“How old would she be now, and would she be able to talk now?” Johnson asked “These are all common curiosities of the boys. I also think it is equally important to express to the court what it means to these two little boys to go through the rest of their lives without their baby sister.”

“These big brothers will never get the opportunity to experience any of these things that come with being big brothers to their baby sister,” Johnson said, “and that is because Ida Lee Evans and David Delauder took that away from them. The lives of the boys will be altered forever as a result because they will not grow up as big brothers to their baby sister.”