PRINCETON, W.Va. — Charges of child neglect causing death against two parents in Mercer County have been dismissed without prejudice because a crucial witness could not be located, according to the county prosecutor’s office.
Jonathan Knight, 26, and Alana Simpson, 29, both of Bluefield, were scheduled to go on trial for charges resulting from a 2018 hit-and-run incident, in which their 2-year-old son was struck by a vehicle after wandering away from the couple’s home near Glenwood.
The parents previously were indicted by a grand jury and charged with gross child neglect creating a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury. In the indictment, Knight and Simpson were accused of failing to properly supervise the child by allowing him to climb a swimming pool ladder on the day the boy later died in the hit-and-run incident, which reportedly occurred while Simpson was away from the home. Knight additionally was charged with child neglect creating death.
Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler said a witness considered critical to the allegations involving the swimming pool incident could not be located, and the neglect charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning the charges could be refiled at a later date.
The driver of the vehicle that struck the child, Michael Dicker of Bluefield, had been charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing death and obstructing an officer. Dicker later was acquitted on both counts in Mercer County Circuit Court.