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Berkeley County woman faces murder charge in death of 7-month-old son

August 22, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A 19-year-old Berkeley County woman has been charged in the death of her young son, who died Tuesday from head trauma that police allege was child abuse.

Monica Wyonna Boggs of 8791 Hedgesville Road in Johnsontown, W.Va., was arraigned Thursday by Berkeley County Magistrate Jim Humphrey on one count of child abuse resulting in injury and (first degree) murder of a child by a parent, custodian or guardian.

Boggs, who turned 19 on Wednesday, is being held without bond in Eastern Regional Jail.

Her son, Skylar Trigg Boggs, would have turned 7 months old on Aug. 27, according to county birth records. He was born in Martinsburg.

According to a complaint filed by State Police Trooper J.J. Bowman, the West Virginia Office of Chief Medical Examiner's office determined the boy died as a result of blunt force trauma and that the boy had a "deep" bruise around his left eye.

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Bowman said the child's mother admitted that she threw her son into his crib two days earlier and that his head struck a hard surface and the forceful landing in the crib made a loud noise, the complaint states.

In an interview with police on Wednesday, the mother said she also threw a bottle that struck her son in the left eye on Aug. 16 at their home, which is west of Hedgesville, according to Bowman's complaint.

The child was pronounced dead at 10:09 p.m. on Tuesday by a City Hospital emergency room physician after the boy was taken there by ambulance, Bowman said. Later that night, Bowman said in his complaint that he and medical examiner Donald Shirley went to the child's home and were allowed inside by his mother, who had been at the hospital.

At home, the defendant recounted that the boy appeared to be sick on Sunday, but was feeling better by Tuesday -- at least until she discovered he wasn't breathing at 9:20 p.m. after checking on him throughout the day.

Boggs told police that she and her boyfriend were with the child for the entire day, police said.

Boggs told investigators that the child was placed in his crib at about 6 p.m. and that all seemed normal during a check at about 7 p.m., police said.

After the boy was found not breathing, attempts by family members to resuscitate the child failed, police said.

State Police Sgt. D.E. Boober said Thursday the bottle that struck the child was apparently used for feeding the boy, but couldn't say whether it was plastic or glass.

Boober, who works with the State Police child abuse unit, and Sgt. K.R. Pansch with the polygraph unit interviewed Boggs on Wednesday.

The child's grandfather, Richard Boggs of Hanover, Pa., said Thursday evening that the family was still trying to figure out what happened to the boy.

"We don't know what happened," Richard Boggs said in a telephone interview while funeral services were being arranged in Maryland.

One of the boy's uncles, Montana Boggs, said Skylar was a playful, happy child who played with Hot Wheels toy cars when they were within reach.

"He was awesome," Montana Boggs said in an interview at the boy's home along W.Va. 9 where children's toys could be seen in the backyard Thursday.


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