WV State Police Continue Infant Death Investigation

HARDY COUNTY, W.Va. - It was just a mile from the George Washington National Forest entrance where West Virginia State Troopers found an infant's body. They said the infant wasn't even a month old.

"Well, you know anytime a child is a victim it's very difficult for us to deal with. Many of us are fathers and mothers in the West Virginia State Police and law enforcement in general and those are the most difficult kind of cases to work," said Lt. Michael Baylous, public information officer with West Virginia State Police

It's a tragic incident that police say began when Joseph Christy and Summer McDaniel were involved in a police chase with Morgantown Police Saturday morning.

Both Christy and McDaniel have been arrested and charged with four counts each of felony child neglect.

"They were charged among other things with felony child neglect due to the fact that their four children were passengers in the vehicle during time of the pursuit," said Lt. Baylous.

During investigation interviews, police said Christy and McDaniel admitted to burying an infant in the George Washington National Forest.

"We did receive some information as to why the infant was buried there," said Lt. Baylous. "And the body was sent to the Medical Examiner's Office to determine the possible cause of death and how long the body had been buried there."

And later that night, troopers said they found the infant's body in a shallow grave. Trooper First Class C. S. Hartman said there is reasonable suspicion that foul play could be involved but they'll have to wait for the autopsy results before they know more.

"Let's be patient. Let's wait on the Medical Examiner's report. There's no reason to rush this investigation," said Lt. Baylous.

TFC Hartman said the infant's autopsy was completed on Tuesday at the Medical Examiners office.

Pending those results, West Virginia State Police said Christy and McDaniel could face more charges.

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