WILLIAMSON — Melissa Forbes, 23, of Dingess, entered the Mingo County Circuit Court Room on Monday to face one felony count of child neglect resulting in serious bodily injury of her young son. The defendant, who is currently pregnant with her 3rd child and who has been incarcerated since her arrest on September 20, 2102, was indicted during the January meeting of the Grand Jury.
Forbes had been arrested after an investigation was launched following West Virginia State Police Trooper D.L. Contos into an alleged child abuse case that left an 18 month-old toddler with serious, life-threatening injuries.
According to evidence presented by Contos, on Sept. 20, he responded to a child abuse and neglect complaint in the Dingess Community involving Melissa Marie Forbes, who was 22 at the time of her arrest. Upon arrival, the officer observed the victim, the 18-month old son of the defendant, with multiple contusions to his face, body and extremities.
The defendant first gave a statement to the trooper in which she claimed the toddler had become ill and vomited, falling to the floor which allegedly caused the contusions to his head and face. The defendant then changed her story and advised the officer that the victim was injured while playing with two other children at the residence, with one of the juveniles being her 3 year old special-needs daughter who reportedly had problems with anger issues.
Forbes then continued with her statement and said she wasn’t even aware that any harm had come to her son because she had been asleep for the majority of the day, and was just discovering he was injured upon the arrival of the trooper. She also relayed that her boyfriend, John David Crumbacker, was on his way to pick her and the child up so that she could take him to the hospital for treatment. Contos stated that he then made contact with Crumbacker who claimed to have no knowledge of the toddler’s injuries, nor was he en route to provide transportation to the hospital.
The sister of the boyfriend informed the trooper that she had offered to take the victim and his mother to the hospital after she seen the extent of the injuries but stated that Forbes has refused, saying that she did not want to get her children taken away from her and knew that was a distinct possibility once her young son was examined.
The 18-month old was then transported to the emergency room of the Logan Regional Medical Center where it was discovered that he had life-threatening injuries that included a lacerated liver, a ruptured spleen and was bleeding internally. The victim was then flown by Health Net to the Cabell Huntington Hospital where he spent several days in the Pediatric Intensive-Care Unit. Child Protective Services removed the 3 year-old sibling from the home and placed her in foster care and did the same with the toddler once he was released from the hospital.
Forbes was originally arraigned before Mingo County Chief Magistrate Dallas Toler on charges of child neglect resulting in risk of injury, child neglect resulting in serious injury, providing false information to a trooper and presentation of false information regarding a child’s injuries. However; when presented to the grand jury, the defendant was indicted on one count only. Forbes boyfriend (Crumbacker) was also indicted on the same charge and is being sought by law enforcement officers that were told the defendant may have fled to Columbus, Ohio. If anyone has information as to Crumbacker’s whereabouts, you are asked to contact the WVSP at 304-235-6000 or the MCSD at 304-235-0300.
Forbes’ bond of $50,000 remains the same in Circuit as it was in Magistrate Court. The defendant was remanded back to the custody of the Southwestern Regional Jail at Holden.