YORK COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A 40-year-old woman in York County has been charged with felony child neglect after police say an 11-month-old infant she was caring for was found dead in a plastic bag in the back of a car by emergency room personnel.
According to York-Poquoson Sheriff Ron Montgomery, deputies responded to Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News at around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12 after it was reported that a man in his 80s walked into the emergency room and announced that he had a dead child in the back of his vehicle.
Emergency room personnel from the hospital went outside and found a black plastic bag with the body of a dead 11-month-old child in the rear hatch of the vehicle, the Sheriff’s Office said. The child was identified as Myrical Wicker, who was born on Oct. 19, 2022.
It was determined during the investigation that the child had been in the care of 40-year-old Kristen Danielle Graham, who would take care of her for as long as weeks at a time. Montgomery added that the mother of the infant is a 17-year-old who lives in York County.
At around 1 a.m. on Tuesday, Graham got a call from a friend who was taking care of an elderly person asking for her to drop off cigarettes.
Authorities said Graham then took the child and a small dog in the car with her and drove to a 7-Eleven, where she bought cigarettes and apple juice. She then got back in the car and drove to the friend’s home in Newport News, where she stayed for “some period of time,” according to Montgomery.
At around 8 a.m., Graham drove back to her home on the 3600 block of Seaford Road in York County. Once she got there, authorities said she rolled up the windows, turned the car off and went into the home with the child and dog still inside of the car.
Graham fell asleep and was awakened by a phone call between 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., by then the child had died. According to WAVY, the heat index had reached over 100 degrees in York County. The child was then brought inside the home, put into a plastic bag and driven to Mary Immaculate Hospital.
Graham has been charged with felony child neglect in connection to the death of the child, as well as misdemeanor animal abuse in connection to the death of the dog. She is being held without bond at Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail.
According to Montgomery, depending on the results of the child’s autopsy, there is a “very good possibility” that the charges will later be upgraded to homicide.
“These are not typical situations that we deal with in York County, and when you do come across the death of a child, it affects everyone — the investigators, the law enforcement people there, the EMS people that have to respond to these types of things,” said Montgomery. “And I can tell you that the mood of the agency today when we had a briefing on it this morning is somewhat shock and disbelief, even though we’re professionals and we have to do everything we possibly can do to do a thorough, professional investigation.”