RAVENSWOOD, W.Va. (WOWK) — A West Virginia woman is facing child neglect charges after her 8-year-old was found standing alone in the roadway.
According to West Virginia State Police, authorities responded to a call on Greenhills Road in Ravenswood just after noon on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, regarding a child who was found standing in the road.
A trooper said the caller told him he saw the child standing in the street after turning a curve in the roadway, and had to slam their brakes to avoid hitting the boy. A criminal complaint from Jackson County Magistrate Court said the caller told the trooper the child then “laid his head on their vehicle.” The trooper said he later learned from the mother that the child did have a “learning disability.”
According to the complaint, the caller stated that when they got out of the vehicle to check on the child, he took off running down the road. The caller also said they saw the child was by himself for about three to four minutes before adults came to the scene to get him but did not know how long he had been alone prior to seeing him, the complaint says.
Authorities said they then spoke to the child’s mother, identified as Rebecca Lavigne, 34, at the home where she, her four children and her boyfriend live. According to the criminal complaint, Lavigne allegedly told the trooper the boy took off from the home and that she left him unattended, walking inside for “a brief time.” The complaint states Lavigne allegedly said the boy then ran down the hill where she saw him alone in the roadway.
According to the criminal complaint, a Jackson County deputy who also responded to the scene says the child has allegedly run away from the home before, most recently on Nov. 25, 2022, when he was found an hour later. The Jackson County 911 center said that 34 calls to 911 have come from the home since October 2020, allegedly involving domestic situations, this child running away, “issues” with the other children, and medical calls.
The trooper said he then went into the home and found it to be “unsuitable” for children to live, allegedly with trash and dishes piled up in the kitchen, damaged floors and a living room floor vent that had been cut apart causing a danger to the small children.
Jackson County Child Protective Services then removed all four children from the home, according to the complaint. CPS also told authorities there have been alleged “ongoing issues coming from” Lavigne and her boyfriend “pertaining to the children and their living conditions.”
Lavigne was then arrested and charged with Child Neglect Creating Risk of Injury.