EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSTODDLER DEATH UPDATE
from Eyewitness News Online
Toddler Crushed By Stove Dies, Grandmother And Her Boyfriend Charged
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Web Producer: Darrah Wilcox
Also Contributing: Mamie Buoy, Kallie Cart
Reported: Jan. 17, 2013 1:59 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 21, 2013 8:22 AM EST
Huntington , Cabell County , West Virginia
Kentucky State Police have arrested the grandmother of a toddler in Lincoln County who died after he fell and was crushed by a stove.
45-year-old Pearl Jean Christian and her boyfriend, 38-year-old Byron Morrison, are charged with child neglect resulting in death and being a fugitive from another state.
West Virginia State Police say Christian and Morrison were in the Branchland home Monday morning when the two-year-old Chevy Waughtel climbed on the electric cook stove, causing it to topple over on him. The child died from his injuries.
Troopers say Christian and Morrison were in the home at the time of the accident, but were asleep.
West Virginia troopers informed the Kentucky State Police that the two might go to the child's funeral services at Evans Funeral Home in Raceland. They responded and arrested both Christian and Morrison before the services started.
Both Christian and Morrison are currently in the Greenup County Detention Center.
Troopers also say the home where the family lived was in deplorable conditions.
Amanda Kerlavage got a phone call from her son's father Monday morning that nearly made her heart stop.
"He said, 'I don't know which boy's dead, but the stove fell on him and all they're telling me is he's blond haired and 2 1/ 2 years old,' " Kerlavage said.
Kerlavage's son, Jaydren, and another 2 1/2 year old boy, Chevy Waughtel, were playing on a stove at a home in Branchland in Lincoln County when it toppled over, a family member at the home said. Chevy Waughtel was killed, but Jaydren escaped with just scratches.
After receiving the call, Kerlavage and her mom, Pamela Grubbs, drove out to the home where her son was staying, and had to wait several hours before they knew little Jaydren was OK.
Grubbs said it was the worst feeling in the world “not knowing if that baby that was crushed was Jaydren or not."
Kerlavage said Jaydren was supposed to be visiting with his father in Huntington, but was at the Branchland home of his father's girlfriend, Betty Christian.
"I don't know what my baby went through and I don't know what he saw," Kerlavage said.
State Police said Christian's mom, Pearl, and her boyfriend were home but allegedly sleeping when a stove fell on Chevy. He was unresponsive when emergency crews arrived at the scene and was later pronounced dead.
While Kerlavage said she grieves for the family, she is also angry. "You don't leave your children unattended. You don't go to bed and leave a 2-year-old up. You just don't," she said.
Now she is hugging her son a little tighter. "I can't really explain how thankful I am. I don't know what I would do without my baby," Kerlavage said.
Kerlavage said she is exploring her legal options right now. Meanwhile, State Police have not charged anyone in the case yet and are waiting on autopsy results for the toddler.
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