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Boy, 5, found lying unconscious inside a closed trunk

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 11:05 AM EDT
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JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ/Gray News) – A 5-year-old boy was flown to the hospital Tuesday afternoon after being found closed in the trunk of a vehicle.

“We found this boy, who at that time had been removed from the vehicle, clearly unconscious, barely breathing, exposed to some extreme heat for extended periods of time and clearly fighting for his life,” Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger told WSAZ.

Mellinger said a neighbor found the young boy in the car, which he happened to own and was trying to sell.

“The neighbor had this vehicle he owned that was parked here at this residence with their blessing,” the sheriff explained.

When he was trying to show the car to a prospective buyer, he popped open the trunk and discovered the 5-year-old, lying unconscious.

It’s unclear how long the boy was in the trunk, but temperatures in the area were in the 90s.

“It’d be hard to say whether this was just a tragic accident through neglect and basically just parents that just don’t really care much about their children, I hate to say it that way,” said Mellinger. “It would be hard for me to fathom and believe with situations like this, the kids are nothing more than a stimulus check to the parents.”

Mellinger said altogether there were four children in the home ranging from ages 1 to 5.

According to the criminal complaint, investigators also discovered unsanitary conditions inside the mobile home, including “an overpowering smell of feces and urine.”

They said the other kids, including a 3-year-old girl, a 2-year-old boy and a 9-month-old infant, “appeared to be foul and unbathed.”

Investigators also described “a multitude of trash, rotten food, flies, maggots, dirty diapers, as well as clutter to the point that it restricted any movement within the home.”

“It was honest to goodness some of the filthiest and worst, nasty, dirty conditions I’ve seen in the 20-plus years I’ve been here. The chronic neglect, filth and nastiness of the home merited an arrest even without this incident,” Mellinger said.

The parents, Nantail Roberts, 24, and Corey Roberts, 22, of Cottageville were arrested and are now facing felony child neglect charges.

Nantail Roberts, 24, and Cory Roberts, 22, are arraigned on child neglect charges after their...
Nantail Roberts, 24, and Cory Roberts, 22, are arraigned on child neglect charges after their 5-year-old boy was found in a closed trunk in Jackson County, West Virginia.(WSAZ/Tori Yorgey)

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