Charleston, West Virginia – A devastating case of child abuse has been uncovered, leading to the arrest of a 26-year-old mother and her 22-year-old boyfriend earlier this month. The couple is accused of brutally beating the woman’s 3-year-old son, resulting in his tragic death. The suspects initially claimed the child’s fatal injury was an accident, stating that he had accidentally hit his head on a dresser drawer.
Kimberly A. Sears and Robert F. Reinhold are facing charges of child death by a parent, guardian, or custodian by child abuse. Law enforcement responded to a distressing 911 call on December 5th, where they found the unresponsive toddler at a residence in the 400 block of Northridge Drive, approximately 100 miles southeast of Charleston, West Virginia.
According to reports, Reinhold, who made the emergency call, informed authorities that the child had fallen and hit his head. The young victim was swiftly taken to two different medical facilities for treatment. Although medical staff did everything they could to save the toddler, the toddler’s injuries proved fatal, and he tragically passed away on December 11th.
Investigations took a shocking turn when Reinhold confessed his involvement in the child’s death. He admitted to forcefully pulling the toddler away from his sister, causing him to fall and strike his head on the dresser drawer. As a result of his confession, the original child abuse charges against Reinhold were dropped, and he now faces the more severe offense of death of a child, carrying a possible sentence of 15 years to life in a state correctional facility.
Sears, the child’s mother, was arrested in Roanoke, Virginia, as authorities executed a warrant from Greenbrier County. She has since been extradited to West Virginia and is currently held at the Southern Regional Jail. During an interview, Sears admitted to being aware of Reinhold’s physical abuse towards her son. Documentation from as early as June 2023 revealed a pattern of injuries inflicted on the child.
Reinhold allegedly claimed that the 3-year-old had attempted to kiss his sister, which caused him to grab the boy and shove him in the chest. He said the shove caused the boy to fall, which is when he likely struck his head on the dresser drawer.
The State Department of Health and Human Resources has been investigating the allegations of child abuse since September 2023. This case raises concerns about the handling of child abuse cases and the need for efficient intervention to protect vulnerable children.