MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A couple has been charged in Monongalia County after three minors disclosed evidence of abuse during a forensic interview.
On Jan. 22, officers with the Morgantown Police Department became involved in an investigation being performed by the West Virginia DHHR Child Protective Services, according to a criminal complaint.
Officers said the abuse allegations stemmed from four different CPS referrals which were filed from the dates of Jan. 6-22 and involved three female minors; officers said the incidents were done by Nickolle Lake, 31, and Ricky Lake, 30, both of Morgantown.
During an interview with the Child Advocacy Center on Jan. 21, child forensic interviewers observed one of the females had two visible black eyes, which she told the interviewers she had received from Ricky when he hit her in the face with the back of his hand after becoming angry that the girl’s cat was in the kitchen, according to the complaint.
Another of the children had a bruise on her abdomen during the interview and said that the wound had come from Nickolle, who hit her with a wooden spoon while Ricky held her down, officers said, and the girl also told interviewers that she had been hit with “hands and a belt” in the past. Another of the girls corroborated the story, according to the complaint.
The youngest of the three girls had visible bruises on her neck, as well as burn marks on her back, which another of the girls told interviewers that Ricky had caused, officers said.
Also during the interviews, each of the girls said that they were locked in a bedroom by both Ricky and Nickolle, and the door was secured from the outside by “an apron tied to the doorknob and then tied onto another door,” according to the complaint.
The minors would be locked in the bedroom for “long periods of time” and not let out to use the bathroom, so they sometimes had to use “puppy pads” in the bedroom, officers said, and when CPS workers visited the girls’ residence, they observed the apron tied to the door as well as a puppy pad with urine and feces on it inside the room.
Ricky and Nickolle Lake are both charged with two counts of child abuse and two counts of child neglect. They are both being held in North Central Regional Jail on $100,012 bond.