Preliminary hearing set for Upshur County man charged in Shaken Baby Syndrome death case

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — An Upshur County man charged in the deaths of two young boys is set to appear before a magistrate for his preliminary hearing Monday.

Thomas Cunningham, 27, of Buckhannon, faces charges of child abuse resulting in injury and child abuse resulting in the death of a child.

The children’s mother, Ciera Gillespie, 25, has been charged with child neglect resulting in death and child neglect resulting in serious bodily injury. Her case was bound over to Upshur County Circuit Court after her preliminary hearing Thursday.

Upshur County Sheriff Virgil Miller previously said a one-year-old died Dec. 10 at Ruby Memorial Hospital. His brother, a two-year-old, died Nov. 28.

Doctors said the injuries were consistent with “Shaken Baby Syndrome.”

Cunningham is accused of injuring the children while Gillespie went to Walmart.

Police said Cunningham called Gillespie and said something was wrong with the baby. She rushed home and found the two-year-old bleeding and limp. Cunningham then noticed something was wrong with the one-year-old.

Gillespie told investigators she believes Cunningham was under the influence of a controlled substance when she left the home on Nov. 28.

Cunningham’s prelim is Monday at 3 p.m.

Both Cunningham and Gillespie are being held at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail.

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