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Girlfriend of man charged in starvation case waives right to hearing

September 07, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD
  • Karen Sue Boback
West Virginia Regional Jail & Correctional Facility Authority,

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The girlfriend of a man accused of depriving his children of food waived her right on Tuesday to a preliminary hearing in Berkeley County Magistrate Court on charges pending against her.

Karen Sue Boback, 43, of 292 Labonte Drive in Martinsburg, is charged with two felony counts of child neglect by parent or guardian leading to serious bodily injury, two felony counts of child abuse by parent or guardian, and four felony counts of conspiracy to commit the abuse and neglect, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.

The state's case is now bound over to circuit court, where evidence against Boback can be presented to a grand jury.

Boback and her boyfriend, Jesse A. Lafferty, 32, both remain in Eastern Regional Jail, according to jail and court records. Lafferty's case is pending in magistrate court after an initial preliminary hearing was continued.

A forensic nurse told police that both children -- a 3-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy-- were underweight and malnourished, and exhibited classic signs of starvation when they were found, according to court records.

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Boback told police that Lafferty punished his children by withholding food from them over a 24-hour period, made them take cold showers, spanked them with a belt and forced them to spend the night in the home's unfinished basement, according to court records.

Boback indicated that food was being withheld from Lafferty's children two to three days out of every seven, and they spent 50 percent to 60 percent of their time in the basement, according to court records.

Authorities found a padlock on the refrigerator door and a deadbolt on the food pantry, according to court records. The basement door had a lock on it, and there was a doorbell at the top of the door, records show.

The basement's concrete floor was bare except for a small piece of carpet and a couple of blankets, according to court records. A baby monitor was found near the blankets, and a child's portable toilet was in one corner of the basement, according to court records.

The children are in state custody, according to a West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources spokesman.

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