SUTTON, W.Va. – A Braxton County mother was jailed and charged with child neglect resulting in death following the loss of her 8-year-old son.
State police were called when hospice caregivers were turned away by Valarie Brown, 38, at the front door of her Sutton home on several occasions.
Her son Levi Burroughs was under the care of hospice because he suffered from Hurler’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes organ damage and eventual death.
Most children afflicted with Hurler’s Syndrome do not live past the age of 10.
“Obviously, [hospice] felt there was a need to get in there and provide treatment for this child and they were being denied that access,” explained First Sgt. Michael Baylous with the West Virginia State Police.
When the trooper arrived with a hospice worker on Thursday, Mrs. Brown once again resisted letting anyone into the home, but eventually allowed them inside. They found Levi deceased in a bed, wrapped in a blanket, his body partially decomposed.
Baylous said the child had been dead for “a considerable amount of time.”
“The child was denied care, denied care! Mrs. Brown did not allow Hospice to come in and provide the proper care and treatment that that child needed.”
Investigators are awaiting the results of an autopsy. What they find will be key to determining if Brown is charged with a more serious crime.
Baylous said the treatment of the boy was unconscionable.
“Here’s a child, in his last hours, was in conditions…He wasn’t in a loving and compassionate environment,” stated Baylous. “This child died alone!”
Police said they are familiar with Brown and “her pattern of behavior.” She’s been arrested on more than one occasion for drug related crimes. Now investigators want to find out what she was doing in the last few days of her son’s life.
“We want to know where Ms. Brown was during that entire time and what she was out doing,” according to Baylous. “Our investigators will work tirelessly on this.”
Brown also has a 6-year old son. He was last seen at the home this past weekend, but was staying with a grandparent at the time Brown was taken into custody.
She’s being held at the Central Regional Jail on $100,000 bail.