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Archive for Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Charges added in incest case

February 24, 2009

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— A grand jury has added another charge against a western Missouri man suspected of fathering four children with his teenage daughter and charged with second-degree murder in the death of one of the infants.

Cass County prosecutors announced Monday that the grand jury indicted the man on a charge of endangering the welfare of a child. That means he now faces a total of two counts of child endangerment in addition to second-degree murder and other charges.

The new charge accuses the 47-year-old man of failing to seek medical assistance when helping the daughter give birth in August 2005 to a boy who is now 3 years old and in state custody.

The man’s wife was charged earlier with one count of child endangerment and is free on $10,000 bond. The grand jury added a second count alleging she failed to seek medical help when assisting in the 2005 birth, plus a new charge of hindering prosecution.

Public defenders representing the suspects did not immediately return phone calls to The Associated Press for comment Monday.

Family members and investigators have said the daughter who had the babies was 13 when her father began molesting her. She has not been charged with any crime. The Associated Press is withholding the defendants’ names to protect the identity of the now 19-year-old daughter, an alleged sexual assault victim.

Preliminary hearings that had been scheduled March 5 for both defendants have been canceled, a spokeswoman for the Cass County prosecutor’s office said. Arraignments are scheduled March 16 for the man and March 18 for his wife.

The father remains jailed on $500,000 bond.

A second-degree murder charge filed last month accuses the man of failing to get medical help for an infant boy who was born in November 2006 and showed symptoms of pneumonia before dying in February 2007.

That infant’s remains were found in a cooler on a rural property where the family once lived near Harrisonville, a town of about 9,000 people about 40 miles south of Kansas City.

Two other babies the man is suspected of fathering with the daughter also died, but no charges have been filed in those deaths and authorities are still investigating the circumstances.

One of those babies was born in April 2008. Its remains were found last month in a different cooler on the Harrisonville property.

And a baby born in 2004 is believed to have been buried in Oklahoma, where the family also spent time.

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