MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – State Police say a Missouri couple is jailed on charges of child neglect, but could be facing much more serious charges after a bizarre weekend discovery.
Morgantown police officers observed Joseph Christy, 32, and Summer McDaniel, 26, both of Maryville, Missouri in a stolen vehicle at the Sheetz convenience store in Sabraton Saturday. The couple fled when confronted by officers. The vehicle had been reported stolen in Iowa. The pursuit went onto I-68 and I-79 before the pair was finally stopped. Each was charged with child neglect because their four children, ages 11, 7, 4, and 2 were in the vehicle at the time of the pursuit and none of them were buckled up.
The two were questioned individually after their arrest and police made a startling revelation.
“There were some interviews conducted and information was obtained that Mr. Christy and Miss McDaniel had buried an infant child in the George Washington National Forest in Wardensville, West Virginia,” said West Virginia State Police Spokesman Lt. Mike Baylous.
State Police in Hardy County were alerted to the information and were led by Christy to the burial site.
“They were able to locate the burial site and did discover the remains of an infant child there,” said Baylous.
The child’s remains were sent to the state Medical Examiner’s Office to determine a time and cause of death. For now, the pair face no charges in connection with the child’s death, but those may be pending depending on the findings of the medical examiner.
“I don’t know who said what, but there was some kind of indication about why the baby was buried,” Baylous said. “We have to wait and see what the medical examiner determines is the cause of death and the approximate time of death before we make a decision on how to proceed with this.”
Meanwhile, the couple remains in the North Central Regional Jail on $60,000 bail each on the child neglect charges.
Baylous said the two appear to have lived all over and are largely transients. Their most recent address was Missouri, but Christy had also lived in Colorado Springs, CO where he was wanted on outstanding warrants.