FAIRMONT — A Fairmont woman who locked her 3-year-old son in his room, and tortured and deprived him of food, pleaded guilty to child neglect Tuesday in Marion County Circuit Court.
As part of a plea agreement, Brittany Nicole Lippincott, 29, of 106 Monongah Heights, pleaded guilty before Marion County Judge Patrick N. Wilson to one felony count of child neglect resulting in injury and one felony count of child neglect creating risk of injury or death.
Wilson said there was a “basis in fact” for Lippincott’s pleas, and accepted them, according to her plea agreement. Wilson also stated for the record that Lippincott is “an abusive and/or neglectful parent.”
The judge said the Marion County Probation Office will conduct a pre-sentencing investigation and prepare a report within 60 days, and then Lippincott will come back to court for sentencing. A date for the sentencing was not available Tuesday.
Lippincott will have to register with the West Virginia State Police Child Abuse and Neglect Registry.
In court, Wilson asked Lippincott to tell what happened that led to the two charges against her.
For the first count, Lippincott said, “I didn’t take my son to the doctor, medically neglected him.” She said it was the “same thing” for the other count.
After Lippincott made that statement, Marion County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Pigott said there should be some acknowledgement of the child’s malnourishment in Lippincott’s statement.
Wilson then called for a recess in which the attorneys conferred. After the recess, Lippincott then stated in open court that she had failed to provide her son with adequate nutrition, in addition to medically neglecting him.
After the court proceeding, Pigott said that the child is doing “wonderful,” and is now “thriving.” She said she couldn’t comment about whose care the child is under.
Pigott said in court that the child had spent a week in Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown for his condition after his mother’s arrest in May.
The original criminal complaint against Lippincott states the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, assisted DHHR workers in conducting a home check, and found Lippincott’s child May 9 at 106 Monongah Heights where they arrested Lippincott.
DHHR and police received an anonymous referral that Lippincott was distributing illegal drugs with children in the residence. Police contacted Lippincotts’s mother, who in turn, said no one was at the residence.
While there, deputies saw a woman, who was minutes later identified as Lippincott, walking down a hallway toward rooms. The officers were “aware of active warrants for Brittany Lippincott.”
According to the court papers, there was a doorway located first on the left that was locked shut with an eye bolt and a hook.
One of the law enforcement officers opened the door and said, “they’ve got kids locked in here.”
After the scene was secured, the detective was told that a three-year-old male was found in the locked room and appeared in poor health.
The sergeant said the child had been in “just his underwear” when he opened the door, and his appearance was “emaciated, pale, with apparent bruising on his face near the eye and mouth.” Police said the child was able to verbally communicate with the officers and DHHR workers.
According to the court papers, police found digital hand scales, plastic bags with white residue and plates with white residue and snorting straws in the residence. Police obtained a search warrant and seized the drug paraphernalia.
The child was transported by DHHR to Fairmont Regional Medical Center for a wellness check and was photographed to document his condition. Officials said a complete outline of the child’s rib cage was visibly apparent from the front and back views because of the emaciation.
After examining the child’s backside, it was found that because of the emaciation, the child had no formed buttock, but rather sagging skin, the court papers state.
Police and healthcare officials found the child’s face bruised near the eyes and mouth, and the child’s back had a laceration on the lower section. The complaint states that the child’s genitals also showed signs of trauma.
The child was later transported to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown for further treatment, and because of his genital injuries, a sexual assault exam was completed.
When an examiner asked the child about the injuries to his lip, he responded “mommy did it with pliers,” the complaint states. Medical records of the child’s treatment at Ruby Memorial showed the child weighed 22.6 pounds, six ounces and was two feet 11 inches tall.
The child also told investigators that he has to “sit at the table and watch them eat, it’s not my turn,” according to the complaint.
In a police interview, Lippincott stated she noticed issues with the child in October 2018 and he has not seen a doctor. She stated that he “needs help, he needs to go to a doctor.”
“Miss Lippincott stated…(the child)… had not been to a doctor in a year and she had not sought treatment for his issues,” the complaint reads. Lippincott stated she would lock the child in his room at night “a couple times,” but usually during the day.
Lippincott’s name was spelled as “Lippencott” on the court schedule, but the Marion County Sheriff’s Office had previously confirmed that “Lippincott” was the correct spelling.
She will remain in custody until sentencing.