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Man accused of incest kills daughter, infant son in murder-suicide

A North Carolina man accused of having an incestuous relationship killed his biological daughter, their infant son and the woman’s adoptive father before shooting himself, the New York Daily News reported.

>> Read more trending news

Steven Pladl, 43, was found dead in Dover, New York, on Thursday, the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound as he sat in his car.

The triple murder-suicide covered three states, the Daily News reported.

Pladl’s biological daughter, Katie Pladl, 20, was given up for adoption when she was an infant. She tracked her father down on social media two years ago, and the two began an incestuous relationship, police said.

>> Related: Father and daughter charged with incest 20 years after adoption

Katie gave birth to their son, Bennet Pladl, in September 2017. Katie and Steven Pladl were arrested in January; they were released on bond and ordered by the court to stay apart.

Thursday, Steven Pladl’s mother called 911 for authorities to conduct a welfare check on his home in Knightdale, North Carolina, the Daily News reported.

Bennett was found dead at the home around 9 a.m., Knightdale Police Chief Lawrence Capp said.

Katie Pladl and her adoptive father, Anthony Fusco, 56, were also found dead in a pickup truck in New Milford, Connecticut, Capps said.

Steven Pladl then drove to New York, where he committed suicide, according to his attorney, Rick Friedman.

Katie Pladl was born in 1998 before she was legally adopted by the Fuscos, the Daily News reported.

Teacher in prison for raping young girl named ‘person of interest’ in her mother’s 2000 murder

A Maryland Spanish teacher and babysitter serving more than 100 years in prison for sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl nearly two decades ago has been named a person of interest in her mother’s 2000 disappearance and presumed murder. 

Fernando Antonio Asturizaga, 51, was identified Thursday by Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger as a potential suspect in the disappearance of Alison Thresher. Thresher, 45, vanished from her Bethesda apartment in May 2000.

Police officials said in a news release that Thresher’s sister reported her missing on May 25 after supervisors at The Washington Post, where Thresher was scheduled to start work as a copy editor on May 24, reported that she had never shown up for work. Thresher was last seen alive by her parents on the night of May 23. 

“We believe she was killed in her apartment, based upon the evidence that we found inside her residence,” Manger said Thursday. “We also believe that her body was taken to an unknown location.”

Her red Volvo station wagon was later found abandoned about a mile from her home. 

>> Read more trending news

Manger said that Thresher’s disappearance was suspicious, but was not considered a murder investigation until about eight months after she vanished. Detectives were unable, however, to develop a suspect from the evidence found at that point. 

At the time of her disappearance, Thresher’s daughter, Hannah Thresher, was 12 and her son, Sam Thresher, was 10. 

Hannah Thresher came forward in 2010 and reported that Asturizaga, her Spanish teacher at Friends Community School, a Quaker private school in College Park, sexually abused her from 1999 to 2001. The abuse started when she was 10 and Asturizaga was 32.

Asturizaga was convicted in 2012 of 18 counts of rape, sexual abuse and child abuse. He is serving his time at Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, according to the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services

See the entire news conference on the Thresher cold case below. 

Manger said that the break in the homicide investigation came when the lead detective on Hannah’s sex abuse case transferred to the cold case unit -- and, in 2016, reopened her mother’s murder case. 

“The detectives felt that, with the passage of time, it might make a difference with Asturizaga in speaking to them, or could cause additional information to surface,” Manger said. “The case was reopened and, based on recent analysis, we now believe the suspect attempted to destroy evidence at the time that the crime was committed inside her apartment.”

The new leads led investigators to label Asturizaga a person of interest in the case. 

Manger said investigators are hoping to learn more from the public about Asturizaga’s activities at the time of the homicide, including any additional inappropriate behavior he had with his students. 

Hannah Thresher, now 30, tearfully said at Thursday’s news conference that she believes Asturizaga killed her mother so the abuse could continue unabated. She quoted something she read in a January New York Times article that she said “deeply resonated” with her.

“‘To groom girls, you must erase mothers,’” she quoted from the story. “This is what Mr. Asturizaga did -- he erased our mother so that he could ensure his own freedom and continue to abuse me, both sexually and emotionally, for almost another year, in addition to the nearly two years that had already passed since the abuse began.” 

Sam Thresher also spoke, accompanied by a service dog named Leroy.

“It is probably the top priority in my life to see that he be prosecuted for this crime before he passes,” Sam Thresher told reporters.

He described Alison Thresher as an amazing mother. 

“She was intelligent, she was eloquent, an excellent writer,” he said. “She was passionate, mostly about Hannah and I. She gave us everything that we hold dear now.”  

A ‘contentious divorce’ and a troublesome babysitter

Alison Thresher was going through a “contentious divorce” at the time of her disappearance and her estranged husband, James Thresher, had hired Asturizaga to babysit the children when they were in his custody, Manger said. 

Alison Thresher became concerned about what she considered “grooming behavior” from Asturizaga, and she wrote letters about her concerns to Asturizaga, the school and her divorce lawyer expressing those concerns, the chief said. 

“Alison put her husband, Asturizaga and the school officials on notice that she did not want Asturizaga to have contact with her daughter, Hannah,” Manger said. “Despite her concerns, Asturizaga continued to have contact with Hannah.”

Police officials said Thresher also got into a fight with Asturizaga outside her ex-husband’s home in February 2000, just three months before she vanished, about his continuing to babysit her children. 

Police investigators released the contents of two of her letters Thursday following a news conference about the case. The letter from Thresher to Asturizaga was dated April 28, 1999. 

“I write to you as someone who’s been a friend and great help to me and my family the last couple years,” Thresher wrote. “Several times over the last several months I have expressed my concern to you that my daughter, Hannah, has formed an excessive emotional bond with you. When I made it clear that I did not want the two of you to be alone together, you assured me that you would, in fact, no longer babysit for Hannah and Sam. That was not true.”

Thresher went on to write that she was disappointed with his lack of response to her concerns, citing his job as a teacher as a reason she hoped he would have been more sensitive. 

In the letter to the school, dated June 9, she wrote that she continued to be concerned about what she considered an inappropriate relationship between Asturizaga and Hannah. She said that she would continue to withhold permission for Hannah to attend the school for the 1999-2000 school year and that she would not be responsible for any financial obligation into which her ex-husband entered. 

She also refused permission for Hannah to work at the school’s summer camps, where she would have contact with Asturizaga. 

The details of Thresher’s letter to her attorney were not released, but investigators said that the letter informed her lawyer that Thresher had heard from other mothers concerned about their own daughters’ relationships with Asturizaga, who was also a youth soccer coach. 

In journal entries released by police officials, including one dated two months before her disappearance, Thresher wrote about her concerns, often with abbreviations and the use of the letter F to represent “Fernando.”

“If you’re uncomfortable, that’s a sign,” Thresher wrote in the March 18, 2000, entry. “Go (with) that. 

“Mad (about) my thoughts re: (Fernando),” she continued. “Stress that lines of (demarcation). He is a teacher. Many people have concerns (about) male babysitters -- teenagers. Sometimes too stimulating (for) them.”

In a second, undated entry, she notes that neither the school nor Asturizaga followed through on their obligations.

“No physical proximity,” she wrote. 

Despite her concerns, James Thresher continued to allow Asturizaga to babysit the children. Police officials indicated that Hannah attended the school through 2001, after her mother vanished. 

A mother vanishes without a trace

The night of May 23, when her family last saw her, Alison Thresher had dinner at her parents’ home, leaving around 8 p.m., the news release said. She spoke to a friend on the phone around 10 p.m. and sent two emails to friends, the second of the two sent at 12:17 a.m. on May 24.

A neighbor reported hearing cries from Thresher’s apartment between 4 and 5 a.m. that same morning. Around 6 a.m., a man was seen running from the neighborhood where her Volvo was found the following day. 

The man’s physical description matched that of Asturizaga, investigators said

A resident in that neighborhood noticed the red station wagon around 10 a.m., but didn’t realize the significance until Thresher’s missing persons case was made public. 

At the time of his 2010 arrest for abusing the girl, Asturizaga refused to talk to detectives about her mother’s disappearance, the news release said. At that point, all leads in the missing persons case had been exhausted. 

Hannah Thresher said she “strongly denied” (the sexual abuse) as a child -- as she said Asturizaga carefully groomed her to do. Still, her mother knew something was not right. 

“Soon after she made her suspicions known, my mother disappeared,” she said at Thursday’s news conference. “A few months later, when I expressed frustration at his lack of empathy toward my grief over the loss of my mother, Mr. Asturizaga said to me: ‘I thought things would be easier for us now that she’s gone.’”

Hannah Thresher said she didn’t think anything of the comment at the time. After a decade of reflection, she started to wonder if his words meant more than she thought. 

She said that Asturizaga took nearly everything from her -- years of her life, her innocence, her happiness and her optimism. She called herself resilient, however.

“For my mother, I need the whole truth to come out,” she said. “Despite the trial that ensued when I came forward about his abuse and the resulting 100-some years that he was sentenced to spend in prison, there are still many questions that need to be answered.”

She asked people to call Montgomery County police if they remember anything, no matter how insignificant it might seem.

“Just as I did, you may not have noticed it at the time,” she said. “But now, looking back, it might be more meaningful.”

‘Tell my mom that I love her if I die,’ teen pleads as van seat fatally crushes him 

Two 911 calls show that a Cincinnati teenager pleaded for help as he was crushed to death by the seat in his van Tuesday afternoon in a parking lot near his school. 

Kyle Jacob Plush, 16, was found dead by his father about six hours after he made the first 911 call, according to WCPO in Cincinnati. A preliminary autopsy report indicated that he died of asphyxia due to compression of his chest. 

His death was ruled accidental.

“At this time, there is no indication of foul play or evidence of a drug overdose,” Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco said in a written statement. “Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Kyle.”

>> Read more trending news

Sammarco’s statement did not offer details of how Plush was crushed, but Honda in November recalled 800,000 Odyssey minivans because the vehicle’s second row seats can tip forward if not properly latched. The recall was for vans from 2011 to 2017.

Plush’s van was a Honda Odyssey, though the year was not immediately known. 

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters confirmed to WCPO in Cincinnati that Plush died of positional asphyxiation when he became trapped in a seat, but Deters said it was the van’s third-row bench seat. 

His office is investigating the incident to determine exactly how Plush’s death occurred.

“We are actively trying to identify experts to assist us in this investigation,” Deters told the news station

Officials with the city of Cincinnati and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office are also investigating why dispatchers, police officers and deputies were unable to find Plush in time to save his life.  

Audio of Plush’s 911 calls, which have not been released by the media due to their graphic nature, indicated that he became increasingly desperate as his condition deteriorated. In the first call, placed shortly after 3 p.m., the teen was gasping for air as he screamed repeatedly for help, saying he was stuck inside his van “at Seven Hills.”

Plush was a sophomore at Seven Hills School, a private academy for grades pre-K through 12. He died in a parking lot near the school’s Hillsdale campus. 

“I can’t hear you,” Plush told the dispatcher, according to WCPO. “I need help. I’m gonna die here.”

The dispatcher either could not hear him clearly or did not understand what he was trying to say. She asked, over and over, “Where are you? What is the address?”

“I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom that I love her if I die,” the teen said.

A timeline established by the news station indicates that Plush got disconnected about six or seven minutes after he placed his first call. Officers who were dispatched when that call ended tried calling him back, but the call went to voicemail. 

When they did not get a response, the officers marked their assignment complete, the WCPO timeline said. 

In his second call, Plush again made it clear that he knew he was dying. 

“This is not a joke. I’m trapped inside my gold Honda Odyssey van in the parking lot of Seven Hills Hillsdale.”

“Send officers immediately. I’m almost dead.” 

As the second call ended, Plush appeared to struggle to breathe. 

Throughout the second call, Plush could be asking, “Hey, Siri?” It appeared that he used the iPhone voice command to call 911. 

Investigators did not say where in the van they found the teen’s phone. 

It was also unclear when Plush’s second call, which lasted about three minutes, was placed. 

A Hamilton County sheriff’s deputy working a traffic detail at Seven Hills responded to the calls about 10 minutes after city officers marked their assignment complete and 32 minutes after Plush’s first call for help, WCPO reported

The deputy was also unable to find Plush’s van, and though he continued searching, he questioned whether the calls had been a prank. 

The dispatcher pointed out that she put in the 911 system that the caller could be in a thrift store parking lot across the street from the school, Fox19 in Cincinnati reported.  

“I was in there. I just looked in a van over there. I didn’t see anybody in it,” the deputy said, according to the news station

It was not clear if the van the deputy found was Plush’s minivan. 

Plush’s mother, identified by his elementary school as Jill Plush, also called 911 Tuesday evening after she and his father, Ron, determined he was missing.

“My son never came home from school,” Jill Plush said, according to Fox19. “We thought he was at a tennis match, and he never came home from school.”

The parent of one of Kyle Plush’s friends wrote in a Facebook post that the match was to be the teen’s first.

“He had been on the practice squad of the tennis team and was due to play in his first match yesterday,” Jackie Taggart-Boyd wrote. “He didn’t show up. Hours later, they discovered him.” 

Taggart-Boyd indicated that Plush had a physical disability, but did not specify what that disability was. She said it never stopped the teen from trying everything. 

She said her son, Spencer, described his friend as the “most positive person he ever met.”

“I can tell you that Spencer spoke of Kyle often,” the distraught parent wrote. “I only met him a couple of times, but every time Spencer told me a Kyle story, he ended it with, ‘I LOVE Kyle!’”

A Seven Hills School spokesperson said in a statement that Plush started attending the school in the sixth grade. 

“He was a young man of keen intelligence, good humor and great courage, and this whole community feels this loss very deeply,” the statement read. 

A classmate, Preston Luniewski, told WLWT-TV that Plush was a “spectacular” person. 

“He just lit up the classroom,” Luniewski said. “He would always be in class, paying attention, really productive in that environment.”

Counselors were called in to help students and staff cope with the loss.

The teen’s elementary school, Mercy Montessori, is hosting a community prayer gathering in his memory Thursday night. 

“Some of our older children have siblings who are currently in high school and have been contacting me throughout the day looking for a place to gather,” Patty Normile, principal of the school, wrote on the school website. “We will use the strength of prayer, compassion and empathy to help our Mercy students, alumni family and friends.”

Normile wrote that besides his parents, Plush also has a sister in the seventh grade. 


FBI sought records related to Trump 'Access Hollywood' tape in Cohen raid: reports

Search warrants issued before an FBI raid of the office and hotel room of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, show authorities sought details on Cohen’s efforts to stave off negative publicity about his client, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The president was named several times in the warrants, which surfaced Monday, CBS News reported.

Among other records, FBI agents sought information on the release of the infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape, in which the president could be heard on a hot mic making derogatory comments about women, The New York Times reported.

>> Related: FBI raids office of Donald Trump’s longtime attorney Michael Cohen

It was not immediately clear if Cohen was involved in the release of that tape, which was obtained by The Washington Post in 2016 and published just before that year’s election.

>> Related: Does Trump's 'locker room banter' describe sexual assault?

 The Times previously reported that FBI agents focused on seizing records related to payments Cohen made to a pair of women who claim they had sexual relationships with Trump: Stormy Daniels, an adult film star who said they had a sexual encounter in 2006, and Karen McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate who claimed she had a nearly year-long affair with the president in 2006 and 2007.

Officials also sought details on the role that the publisher of The National Enquirer played in keeping the women’s stories from going public, according to The Times.

>> Related: Former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal files lawsuit to speak about alleged Trump affair 

Cohen's attorney Stephen Ryan called the raid "completely inappropriate and unnecessary," in a statement released Monday afternoon. He said it stemmed from a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, its possible ties to the Trump presidential campaign and related matters.

>> More on Robert Mueller's investigation 

The president has denied that he had an affair with either McDougal or Daniels, whose birth name is Stephanie Clifford, and has frequently called Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt.” 

"This is a pure and simple witch hunt," Trump said Monday afternoon, after news of the raid on Cohen’s hotel and office surfaced. "This is an attack on our country."

The president threatened to sue NBC after the “Access Hollywood” recording was released in 2016, telling Fox News that, “The microphone was not supposed to be on, not that I make that as an excuse for myself.” He faced heavy criticism for his comments, which appeared to describe sexual assault, and dismissed them as “locker room talk” during a presidential debate in 2016.

Naked man assaults D.C. train passengers, police say

A nude man reportedly assaulted two Metro passengers in Washington, D.C., early Thursday, police said.

According to WRC-TV, nobody suffered serious injuries in the incident, which occurred about 6 a.m. at the Dupont Circle station.

>> Read more trending news 

Police reportedly have arrested the man, whom a Metro spokesperson described as "naked and disorderly."

A bystander recorded video of the man attacking a passenger, WTTG reported.

A "couple of riders say they jumped in, held the man down until police arrived!" tweeted WTTG reporter Annie Yu.

Read more here or here.

Man accused of robbing bank wrote own name on deposit slip demanding money, prosecutors say

Washington County, Pennsylvania, man will head to trial for allegedly robbing a bank before going out to dinner and heading to a casino with friends.

>> Watch the news report here

Glenn Flory, 30, of Marianna, allegedly robbed the CFS Bank in Bentleyville last month by writing a note on a deposit slip and giving it to a teller.

>> Read more trending news 

In a preliminary hearing Wednesday, prosecutors displayed that note as evidence. They allege Flory wrote his own name on it.

>> On Man who allegedly held up Washington County bank arrested near casino

After the robbery, Flory rejoined his girlfriend and another man who’d driven him to the bank without telling them what he’d done, authorities said. The trio went to dinner at Texas Roadhouse then to Meadows Racetrack and Casino, authorities said.

Flory’s girlfriend and the other man were not charged.

Ex-police officer heads to prison for failing 'integrity test'

After suspicions rose about Chamblee, Georgia, police officer Jason Jones, the department set up an “integrity test”: Send him to impound a car with $500 inside and see if he puts the cash into evidence.

>> Read more trending news 

“He pocketed the money,” Capt. Ernesto Ford told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday. “He was brought in to our internal affairs where he was given an opportunity to explain himself, he was terminated and arrested at the same time.” 

>> On Ex-DeKalb cop stole $150,000 in traffic stops, indictment alleges 

Two years later, on March 23, Jones, who’d been with the department since 2002, has pleaded guilty to theft and violation of the oath of office. He is in the DeKalb County jail awaiting transfer to state prison.

Judge Daniel Coursey sentenced him to five years, with the first to be served in custody.

>> On As DeKalb police seek witnesses, parents broken by 3-year-old’s killing

Ford said the case is disappointing. 

“Obviously we don’t expect that of our police officers,” he said.

Teen charged with murder after 3-year-old killed in Easter drive-by shooting

Police have made an arrest in the shooting death of a 3-year-old boy caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting in DeKalb County, Georgia. 

>> Watch the news report here

>> Visit for the latest on this developing story

T’Rhigi Diggs was killed on Easter when he was shot while sitting in a car outside a gas station at Eastland and Bouldercrest roads. 

Investigators said they arrested a 15-year-old boy and have charged him with murder in the case.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: 3-year-old boy killed in drive-by shooting on Easter Sunday

T’Rhigi's parents told WSB-TV’s Justin Wilfon that they were stunned to hear that police believe their child was killed by another child. 

“That’s sad. People need to learn how to keep their children in their house, in school,” said T’Rhigi’s mother, Rashonda Craig.

DeKalb County police believe the teenager shot and killed T’Rhigi as he rode past the gas station in his mother’s car on Easter Sunday.

“I don’t know how to even come at that. A 15-year-old boy? Like, I’m just glad they found him, that’s it,” said T’Rhigi’s father, Jamel Diggs.

Diggs’ parents told Wilfon they were confident police would find their son’s killer.

“I knew they would make an arrest. I believe in God, and I knew that it was going to come to the light,” Craig said.

Police won’t yet say why they believe the teen allegedly fired the shot.

While Diggs’ parents are relieved police made an arrest, they also know nothing can bring their son back.

>> Read more trending news 

“Every day is a battle. My son is gone,” Diggs said. “It hurts, but I know he’s in a better place. I feel it.”

“The loss of T’Rhigi is tragic and senseless. It is my hope that this arrest will bring some sense of comfort and closure to his family,” DeKalb County Police Chief James W. Conroy said in a news release Wednesday.

Because of the alleged shooter’s age, his name is not being released.

‘Children were bad and beaten’: 9-year-old tells police of abuse in court docs

A 9-year-old boy found seriously injured after the Tuesday death of his 6-year-old sister told police officers how they were abused by their parents, according to court documents

Police officers said they found the 6- and 9-year-old children covered in bruises at a home in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and took them both to the hospital. 

In court documents, officers say the 9-year-old boy told them he and his sister had been “attacked by bullies” while the pair were on a walk with their parents Monday.

>> Read more trending news  

The parents, Marvin Brito and Shana Pedroso, were both arrested after the 6-year-old died of her injuries. Pedroso has been charged with two counts of assault and battery on a child and two counts of reckless endangerment of a child. 

The 6-year-old was found with bruises “of various ages over her entire body,” while the 9-year-old boy had serious injuries and bruising to his face. Police officers say he told them his mother had “glued a wound on his neck closed with super glue.” 

Court documents from Pedroso’s arraignment were released Wednesday, revealing the details officers said the 9-year-old told them at the hospital the day before.

Related: Mother, father to face charges in death of 6-year-old Fitchburg girl

According to the boy, police said his parents, Brito and Pedroso, had left the two children alone while they were on a walk. It was during the walk, he allegedly told police, that the two were attacked by bullies. 

The boy also told police the 6-year-old girl was so badly injured she wouldn’t drink anything Tuesday morning and “his mother was mad.” 

Police said  the boy also told officers the mother and father had agreed by telephone not to call 911. 

Pedroso was arrested at the Fitchburg Police Department and officers say they found notes that included “an entry dated 4/9/2018 which indicated that the children were bad and were beaten.”

2 charged with murder after boy they abused as infant 21 years ago dies

A North Carolina woman and the former boyfriend who helped her abuse her 15-month-old son so severely 20 years ago that the boy was left unable to walk, talk or see have been charged with his murder after the now-grown son died last month. 

Robyn Lynn Noffsinger, 41, and David Raefore Tripp Jr., 45, were indicted Tuesday on first-degree murder charges in the death of David Cody Rhinehart, WECT in Wilmington reported. The charges were announced a day before the 21st anniversary of the incident that left the boy permanently disabled. 

Rhinehart, whose name became David Elei Stuart after he was adopted by a Durham couple, died March 6 at the age of 22.

A medical examiner found that Stuart died of the injuries he sustained as an infant, the news station reported. Noffsinger and Tripp, who each spent nearly 12 years in prison for child abuse, are now being held in the Brunswick County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond each. 

Stuart’s obituary said that his legacy will be one of a “well-lived life.” 

“(David) will be remembered for his boundless spirit and precious energy that he provided to anyone who knew him,” the obituary read. “David loved being on the go and very much enjoyed being around friends and family.”

He was a member of the Miracle League of the Triangle, which posted about his death a few days after he died. 

“We will miss his smile and love of the league,” the Facebook post read

Stuart’s 12-year-old cousin started a GoFundMe page called “David’s Miracle” the day after he died to raise money for his beloved baseball league, which he played in for 12 years. As of Wednesday, it had raised more than $5,000 for the organization.

“David enjoyed playing baseball so much, and we know he would love the idea of giving to this organization so families can experience the same joy he always did,” Charlotte Stuart wrote on the fundraising page.

In a news conference held Tuesday morning, Brunswick County District Attorney Jon David called the murder case “unfinished business,” Raleigh’s News & Observer reported

“This young man did have a remarkable quality of life, notwithstanding the grievous injuries that were inflicted on him so long ago,” David said. 

The News & Observer reported that the case file from the 1997 abuse case stayed on detectives’ desks for 21 years. Tripp’s indictment indicated that he placed Stuart, then just an infant, under scalding water, causing second- and third-degree burns, permanent injuries and disfigurement of the child’s genitals.

Noffsinger’s indictment said she assaulted her son, resulting in serious injuries. It was not clear Wednesday if Tripp was the boy’s biological father. 

WECT reported that documents from her appeal in the original case stated that Stuart was not breathing when he arrived by ambulance at Columbia Brunswick Hospital on April 12, 1997. Emergency room doctors found that, besides the burns to his groin area, the baby had a skull fracture, abnormal pupil response, bruises to his face and deformities to an arm and leg. 

>> Read more trending news

The volunteer ambulance driver who took Stuart to the hospital told police that she saw Noffsinger and Tripp “talking and laughing” outside the emergency room as doctors fought to save the boy’s life, the news station reported.  

Stuart was transferred to Duke University Hospital, where a pediatrician diagnosed him with battered child syndrome. 

Noffsinger and Tripp told the doctor at Duke that the baby was accidentally injured when Tripp bathed him, and that the boy fell from a chair onto a vacuum cleaner, the news station reported. They also claimed that Tripp accidentally hit the baby in the eye with his elbow. 

Both were convicted of and served prison time for child abuse. Stuart eventually recovered enough to be released into foster care, from which he was later adopted.

David praised the two women who adopted and raised Stuart. 

“They took on a child who needed round-the-clock care,” the prosecutor said, according to the News & Observer. “They provided the best quality of life he could’ve hoped for under the circumstances.”

Noffsinger and Tripp had an initial court date Tuesday, the newspaper reported. They will return to court in June to find out if prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

Prosecutors said that double jeopardy, a rule that keeps people from being tried for the same crime twice, does not apply to Noffsinger and Tripp because they were charged in 1997 with felony child abuse. 

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