West Virginia mother, boyfriend charged in boy's death

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia woman and her boyfriend have been charged in the death of her 4-year-old son, police said.

Ashlee Starlene Renee Allen, 27, of Fairmont, was charged Saturday with one count of child abuse causing death, news outlets reported.

The boy was found unresponsive at his home March 4, Fairmont police said in a criminal complaint. The child was declared dead a few days later. The complaint said the child had head trauma, lacerations to his lips, broken teeth and bruises.

Walter Everett Richardson III, 33, was charged March 8 with first-degree murder and death of a child by abuse.

Richardson was alone with the boy both on March 4 and on Jan. 25, when the child was admitted to a Morgantown hospital for multiple head injuries, the complaint said. The boy told a Child Protective Services worker that he was scared of Richardson and did not feel safe with him, it said.

After the first incident, Allen agreed to a temporary plan that Richardson would stay away from the child for a week or until Marion County Child Protective Services could conduct another assessment, the complaint said.

But Allen was back home with Richardson within two days and Allen failed to follow up on the temporary CPS assessment prior to the boy’s death, police said.

Allen “knowingly allowed Walter Richardson to act as custodian” to the boy on March 4 and was aware of previously reported child abuse involving Richardson, the complaint said.

Both Allen and Richardson remain jailed Wednesday on $500,000 bond each.