FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — Fayette County investigators have charged a Hilltop couple in the deaths of their young children after allegedly rolling over on top of them while the family slept on the living room floor.

Kyle Penson, 27, and Ashley Penson, 24, turned themselves in Wednesday morning after being notified they had been charged with felony child neglect resulting in death.

The charges followed an investigation that began March 11 when emergency crews were called to the couple’s home at Mountaineer Mobile Home Park in Hilltop after their 1-year-old daughter and 3-month-old son were found unresponsive.

Fayette County Sheriff’s Department Captain Jim Sizemore told MetroNews Wednesday a detailed investigation that included numerous interviews and autopsies concluded the Pensons had taken drugs or consumed alcohol the night before and went to sleep on the floor with their three kids and rolled over on top of the youngest overnight causing their deaths.

Sheriff Steve Kessler said the children had less of a chance for survival because their parents were drunk.

“This significantly increased the risk factor for these children, as the chemically-enhanced stupor of the parents made it less likely that they would have been awakened by the distress of these infants as their oxygen supply was reduced through parental overlay,” Kessler said in a released statement. “This is why both parents have been charged with the felony offense of Child Neglect Resulting in Death.”

Captain Sizemore said the parents told police they had been drinking or taking prescription drugs the night before. He said they have been cooperating with investigators. They were both arraigned and were initially being held on $25,000 bail each. Ashley Penson was later able to post bail and was released.

Investigators originally thought the children may have died from carbon monoxide poisoning but another young child in the house was “perfectly healthy” according to deputies. That child was also interviewed as part of the investigation.

Sizemore said it’s a difficult case.

“Anytime you’re dealing with the death of two innocent children that’s just awful. There’s no other way to look at that,” he said.

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • ViennaGuy

    - "chemically-enhanced stupor"-

    Heh, that's a different way of putting it ...

  • northforkfisher

    If both parents were under the influence, who was watching the children.

  • Eric

    So, WV is the state one is most likely to die from a drug overdose, in a fire, on an ATV and near the top in dying in road accidents.

    I can't find statistics on which state manages to kill off the most of their own kids, but you read the stories here and the daily stories of kids being taken out of filth-filled, condemn-worthy houses, and you've gotta believe WV ranks at the top there too.

    Can't believe all the battles over abortion when it's clear WV can't cope with the kids it does have.


    Were was DHHR? I'll tell you shopping spending the bug bucks they get each pay check!!! they are worthless & charges should be filed on them as well. myself & school employees have called on numerous child abuse cases & nothing done!!! If states & county law enforcement don't step up stiffer punishment!!! longer/ life jail time & thousands dollar fines!!!!

    • BH

      It's the parents fault. I agree that at times DHHR/CPS seems to ignore neglect and abuse, but ultimately it's the parents fault.

    • Mad

      So do you want CPs workers to start spending the night? Why aren't these drug abusers arrested?

  • Maxeer

    Whats with all these so called parents in their 20's killing these kids? Hand them lousy POS couple.

    • Maxeer

      HANG not hand...just upset reading about these scum buckets...