RIPLEY, WV (LOOTPRESS) – A Jackson County man is being charged in connection with the death of the three-month-old baby.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday disclosed that three-month-old baby Everly passed away as a result of injuries sustained from abuse after spending roughly a month in critical care.
“It’s a very sobering case. These cases are very, very difficult for everybody,” said Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger of the case, which he characterized as, “nothing short of brutal.”
A call was made on January 5, 2024, indicating a medical emergency involving the infant. Responders to the scene noted the staggering severities of the injuries sustained by the baby, including brain bleeding and fractures throughout her skeletal system, among other issues.
The child was first transported to Jackson General Hospital before being flown to Morgantown’s Ruby Memorial Hospital.
The injuries sustained were at the hands of the significant other of the child’s mother, according to Sheriff Mellinger. The perpetrator – identified as John Michael Thames, 24 years old of Ripley, West Virginia – is said to have been watching the baby, as well as another unidentified minor at the time the incident occurred.
Thames has reportedly confessed to causing the injuries which ultimately led to the death of baby Everly, and what initially were abuse charges have been upgraded to charges of Child Abuse Resulting in Death – a charge which carries a penalty of 15-years-to-life in prison.
Sheriff Mellinger spoke to a lack of remorse purportedly displayed by the abuser, whose attempts to defend his actions were characterized as parasitic by law enforcement.
Sheriff Mellinger praised the efforts of EMS and law enforcement responders, as well as the staff at Jackson General Hospital and Ruby Memorial Hospital.
Additional LOOTPRESS coverage for the Jackson County area can be found here.