Man charged after falling asleep while a child in his care escaped his residence in Preston County, deputies say

Crime

TERRA ALTA, W.Va. — A Preston County man has been charged after a child was found outside of his residence while he slept and was supposed to be supervising the child.

On July 2, deputies with the Preston County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call of a 3-year-old child standing alone on the side of the road near W.Va. Rt. 7 in Terra Alta, according to a criminal complaint.

The caller’s wife had went outside before he called and heard crying, at which point she saw a child across the street in front of a residence, and the caller and his wife stayed with the 3-year-old until deputies arrived on scene, deputies said.

When deputies spoke to the caller at the scene, he said that he had went up to the residence and the door was open, so he yelled inside to Jason Poling, 38, of Terra Alta, but no one answered, according to the complaint.

The caller’s wife told deputies that this incident had happened before at the same residence with a female minor, and that the state police had come and arrested the girl’s mother as a result; the caller also informed deputies that this was the third incident when he had seen children next to the road at that residence, deputies said.

After requesting another deputy to assist at the residence, deputies entered the home, the front door of which was open, and found Poling asleep on a chair in the living room and deputies “had to yell to get Poling to wake up,” according to the complaint.

Once Poling was awake, deputies asked him where the 3-year-old was, and he responded that the boy was “in bed,” and when Poling checked the bedroom, the child was not there, deputies said.

At that point, Poling asked where the boy was and deputies told him that the child was found “standing along Rt. 7,” and Poling said the boy had gotten out of the house before and that he had fallen asleep in the chair after coming home from work, according to the criminal complaint.

The child was then turned over to CPS as a result of the incident, deputies said, and that when looking through the residence they “saw a large rat in the kitchen,” and that “[t]he child was dirty and did not have any shoes on.

Poling has been charged with child abuse creating risk of injury. Poling is being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail on $75,000 bond.

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