Randall L. Abney, 51, and Susan A. Abney, 44

Randall L. Abney, 51, and Susan A. Abney, 44, are each charged with one felony count of abuse or neglect of a child resulting in death and second-degree murder. Both are incarcerated in the Dent County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

A Salem couple pled not guilty Monday in connection to felony charges filed in connection to the starvation death of their 10-year-old adopted daughter.

Randall L. Abney, 51, and Susan A. Abney, 44, waived their right to a formal arraignment and entered pleas of not guilty in separate proceedings. Both are charged with abuse or neglect of a child resulting in death and second-degree felony murder.

Susan Abney is next due for a trial setting hearing on March 22. Randall Abney’s trial setting hearing is scheduled for May 24. Both remain incarcerated in the Dent County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

The Abney’s daughter, Josie Ann Abney, was declared deceased Oct. 3, 2020, at Salem Memorial District Hospital. A subsequent law enforcement investigation determined the 10-year-old child had been starved and was dehydrated prior to her death. A later autopsy confirmed the cause of death as severe cachexia and protein calorie malnutrition. The 10-year-old weighed 34 pounds when deceased. The manner of her death was ruled as homicide.

Documents filed in circuit court detail a search of the Abney home by law enforcement determined the home’s refrigerator was locked, food kept in cupboards out of the child’s reach and the doorknob leading into the child’s room was reversed so its lock faced out to the hallway. An audible alarm was further found at the top of that door.