Buckhannon man charged after hitting child in face with claw hammer, troopers say


BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — A Buckhannon man has been charged with child abuse after hitting a boy in the face with a claw hammer, state troopers said.

On Jan. 25, troopers with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police Department received a walk-in complaint in reference to a child abuse incident wherein an adult male hit a 10-year-old child, according to a criminal complaint.

Robert Dowell

According to a witness of the incident, the man, identified as Robert Dowell, 29, of Buckhannon, hit the minor in the face with a “claw hammer” which caused injury, troopers said.

Dowell had been living in the house for six months, and the witness informed officers that the incident had actually taken place before Christmas 2019, and that the child had walked up to the witness to inform her that Dowell had hit him with a claw hammer and he didn’t know why, according to the complaint.

At the time, the witness took photos of the child’s injury, but did not report the incident at the time because she thought it had just been an accident, troopers said, but a few weeks after the incident, the child told her that “he was scared to be inside the home” due to being hit with the hammer by Dowell.

On Feb. 10, a forensic interviewer spoke with the minor and corroborated the evidence and testimony given by the witness, according to the complaint. That same day, officers said they interviewed Dowell.

In his interview, Dowell admitted to hitting the minor in the chin with the claw hammer, and that it was because he was “nervous over not having enough money for smokeless tobacco,” according to the complaint.

Dowell is charged with child abuse resulting in injury. He is being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail on $50,000 bond.

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