A group of local professionals convened a Child Fatality Review Board this week to investigate the circumstances of Josie Ann Abney’s death and make recommendations to prevent future child fatalities, according to a press release from the Dent County Prosecutor’s Office. The release states the board held an initial meeting Tuesday and is currently collecting additional information in furtherance of the review process.
Abney was declared deceased Oct. 3 at Salem Memorial District Hospital. A subsequent law enforcement investigation determined the 10-year-old child had been starved and dehydrated prior to her death. Abney’s adopted parents, Randall and Susan Abney, were afterward charged with felony abuse or neglect of a child resulting in death. They are both currently incarcerated in the Dent County Jail awaiting trial.
In accordance with State Statute 210.192, members of the Child Fatality Review Board include:
• The prosecuting or circuit attorney;
• The coroner or medical examiner for the county or city not within a county;
• Law enforcement personnel in the county or city not within a county;
• A representative from Children's Division;
• A provider of public health care services;
• A representative of the juvenile court;
• A provider of emergency medical services.
The release details the panel discussed the information currently available and requested additional information to review at the meeting. Abney’s formal autopsy has not been made available to any members of the panel as of Wednesday.
Upon receipt of the autopsy and the additional requested information, the panel will reconvene to develop recommendations to be made available to the public, media and potentially the legislature. The recommendations will be targeted to prevent future acts of child abuse and/or neglect consistent with the purpose of the Child Fatality Review Board.