Mother charged with endangering infant daughter

December 12, 2013
Bobby Sammons

DILLINER – The mother of a 7-month old girl has been charged with endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person for injuries her daughter sustained earlier this year.

Charges were filed this week against Ashley Renee Cordwell, 18, of 105 Ford St., Dilliner, before Greene County District Magistrate Judge Glenn Bates. Cordwell has yet to be arrested or formally arraigned. Her prelimiary hearing will be scheduled in January before Bates.

Cordwell’s boyfriend, Bobby Jarond Sammons, 23, father of the infant, was previously arrested and charged with aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children, simple assault and reckless endangerment for injuries sustained by the baby.

Trooper William C. Brown said Cordwell has been charged because he believes she knowingly endangered the welfare of her daughter by “violating a duty of care, protection or support, by not protecting the baby from harm and by not protecting her from sustaining multiple injuries on various occasions.”

Police interviewed Cordwell at Ruby Memorial Hospital, Morgantown, W.Va., July 31 when they were called there to investigate a report of suspected child abuse. According to a criminal complaint, doctors at Ruby told police the child had suffered multiple fractures that were in various stages of healing, indicating they were not from the same incident.

Dr. Jeffrey Lancaster showed police X-rays with four left rib fractures, two right rib fractures, breaks to the left arm bones near the wrist, all in the process of healing. Dr. Michael Cunningham, a radiologist at Ruby, noted additional fractures to the right and left lower legs that were also healing. The baby was being treated at Ruby for a broken right femur. The baby has since been placed in the custody of Children and Youth Services.

Cordwell told police she did not see what happened, nor could she explain how her daughter’s leg was broken in the early hours of July 30.

She said Sammons told her the baby began to cry so he got up to change her diaper and feed her, all while Cordwell was sleeping. Cordwell said Sammons told her he then wrapped the baby in a blanket and laid her on her stomach on the bed while he removed a safety gate from the door. She said Sammons told her he was in the bathroom when he heard the baby scream. He then ran back into the bedroom where he observed their Boxer dog lying on the bed next to the infant. Cordwell said Sammons woke her and she saw him holding their daughter. She said the baby wasn’t crying and she didn’t observe anything strange. She told police she normally awoke when the baby cried but didn’t hear her in this instance, nor did she feel the dog jump onto the bed. Later that evening, Cordwell noticed her baby’s leg swelling and decided to take her to the emergency room.

Sammons initially told police a similar account of what happened, indicating he calmed the baby down and went back to sleep. He did not mention waking Cordwell in his statement. He told police the baby was very fussy the next day but he didn’t think the dog had hurt her.

He said he observed swelling on her hip and applied ice but did not have a vehicle to take her to the hospital until the baby’s maternal grandmother came home from work.

Sammons took a polygraph test Aug. 16 at the Waynesburg state police barracks, which he failed. Police said Sammons’ story changed at this time.

Sammons then told police he was changing the baby’s diaper and reached across the bed when his knee went into the baby’s hip. Police said Sammons told them he heard her leg pop and he picked her up to calm her down.

Sammons said Cordwell woke up when her daughter started to cry and told him to give her a bottle. He said he told Cordwell the dog had jumped on the baby.

Police said Sammons could not explain the other injuries to the baby but said she had fallen out of her car seat at some point onto a hardwood floor and thinks that fall might have caused them.

Sammons is in the Greene County jail on $50,000 straight cash bond. His formal arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday in the Greene County Courthouse.

Tara Kinsell started her career in journalism with the National Geographic Insider Magazine and the Gaithersburg Gazette Newspaper in Montgomery County, Md. Tara has written and photographed sports, features and news stories for the Herald Standard, Greene County Messenger and Albert Gallatin Weekly. She holds degrees in journalism and graphic design from Waynesburg College, now Waynesburg University, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, respectively.

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