The mother and grandmother of an infant in Pike County could face up to 10 years in prison for allegedly abusing the child.
According to an indictment handed down recently by a Pike grand jury, Melissa Wallace, 47, and Whitney Bartley, 26, both of Kettle Camp Branch, Elkhorn City, are facing one charge each of first-degree criminal abuse. The charge is a class C felony, punishable by between five and 10 years in prison.
The criminal abuse charges stem from an incident or incidents which allegedly occurred between Jan. 14 and Jan. 28. According to the indictment, the two “intentionally abused” or “permitted the abuse” of a child less than 12 years old, and “thereby causes a serious physical injury or caused said child to be subjected to torture or cruel punishment,” or acted in complicity with one another or others in the alleged abuse.
Assistant Pike Commonwealth’s Attorney Erin Chamberlin told the News-Express that the child is an infant and was in the legal and physical custody of its mother when the alleged abuse occurred. Chamberlin declined to elaborate on the nature of the injuries suffered by the child.
Chamberlin added, however, that the child is recovering from its injuries.
Neither Wallace nor Bartley were in custody in Pike County as of presstime.