By RACHEL C. DOVE
WILLIAMSON - A stepmother accused of physical abuse against her husband’s 5-year-old daughter appeared in Mingo County Magistrate Court last week for her preliminary (probable cause) hearing.
Magistrate Pam Newsome ruled there was sufficient evidence to present the case to the grand jury.
According to a criminal complaint filed by West Virginia State Police (WVSP) Sgt. B.M. Brown on Dec. 31, 2011, Mingo County Child Protective Services had been contacted by family members who discovered bruising on multiple parts of the child’s body following a trip to her father’s residence at Breeden, during the final days of the holiday week between Christmas and New Year’s.
The child received injuries that were documented and photographed by staff at the Appalachian Regional Healthcare that included an impact bruise to the back of her neck, bruising on both arms, on her back, abdomen and both ears, and she also is said to have had a bite mark on her right thigh.
The child’s paternal grandmother informed Sgt. Brown that when she questioned the 5-year-old about who had physically hurt her, the child reportedly told her it was Brittany, her step-mom, and further stated that she had struck her with a “purple belt.”
The child’s father was allegedly not present in the home at the time the abuse occurred. When questioned about the bruising, the stepmother told Sgt. Brown that she had spanked the victim with her hand during this period, but would not admit to inflicting the injuries that caused the numerous bruises.
During the hearing, Marcum’s legal counsel, Kathryn Sturgell asked the witness for the state, WVSP Sgt. R.L. Frye who assisted Brown with the investigation, if the bite mark on the victim’s leg was measured at the time she was examined, further enquiring if another child could have inflicted the injury.
Sgt. Frye replied that to his knowledge, the bite was not measured. She questioned if he was positive the father of the victim was away from the home while the child was present, and he stated that according to all testimonies received, even that of the accused, placed the father out of the house during this specified time frame.
Sturgell questioned whether the child had directly told the officer her stepmother had harmed her or was this the word of family members only, as well as whether there were other children in the home that could have possible caused the bruising.
After questioning was complete, Magistrate Newsome rendered her decision, and stated that Assistant Prosecutor Matt Chandler had met his obligation for the state and bound the case over to the grand jury.
Marcum will remain free on bond, pending her circuit court appearance if the grand jury indicts her on the felony count of child abuse causing injury.