A woman and her fiancé have been charged with felony child neglect after her 3-year-old child was reportedly found with extensive injuries and burns last week in a camper in the Lignum area of Culpeper County.
Culpeper County Sheriff’s Deputy John Keys responded on Jan. 24 to the 21000 block of Siegen Lane to check the welfare of a young child. Keys found the child and two adults staying in an RV on the property.
Karen Reed, the child’s mother, and her fiancé, Daniel Gass, 22, of Fredericksburg were asked about the bandages on her child’s hands and the large lump with a bruise on the forehead, according to a news release from the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office.
The two gave conflicting statements, authorities said, such as the mother claiming to have taken her child for medical treatment but the couple giving different hospitals. The mother later admitted never taking the child for medical treatment.
Keys contacted Child Protective Services.
During the course of the interview the deputy discovered Gass was wanted in Culpeper County for felony probation violation, failure to appear in a Spotsylvania County court and failure to appear in a Virginia Beach court. Gass was arrested and held without bond in the Culpeper County Jail.
Culpeper Child Protective Services later arrived with a second deputy who checked the injuries beneath the child’s bandaged hands and immediately called for a rescue squad. The child was taken into emergency custody and the Richardsville Rescue Squad called for an air transport to the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center’s burn unit in Richmond.
Reed was subsequently charged with felony child neglect, transported to a magistrate, granted a $2,000 secured bond, temporarily held in the local jail and released early on Friday.
On Monday, Gass also was charged with felony child neglect. He appeared in Culpeper County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Tuesday and was ordered held without bond in the local jail.
CPS obtained a removal order from Culpeper Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court Friday morning and has been instrumental in ensuring the child receives the necessary medical care, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
While at the hospital, it was discovered that the child had suffered extensive injuries beyond the burns and that further delay in treatment would have almost certainly been fatal.
“We’re grateful for the teamwork between the deputies, Child Protective Services and the Richardsville Rescue Squad. They’ve given this child a chance that they may not have otherwise had. It breaks my heart to think what may have happened had the timing been any different,” Sheriff Scott Jenkins said in a statement.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information concerning alleged abuse of this child is asked to contact Culpeper detectives at 540/727-7520.
News of the reported incident resulted in outpouring of interest and offers of assistance for the child’s future care and custody, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Those decisions will be made by the Child Protective Services and the court system. The sheriff noted Culpeper Human Services Director Lisa Peacock and her staff would be more than happy to answer questions for anyone interested in becoming future foster parents.
“They’re always looking for loving homes, so I encourage you to please contact them if you’re interested,” Jenkins said.