FRANKLIN, Va. (WAVY) — A Franklin woman charged with the murder of her 6-year-old son told police she choked him to death, according to an arrest warrant and search warrant affidavit.
Officers were called to the Days Inn motel on Armory Drive at 5:40 a.m. Wednesday for the report of an unresponsive child. The boy was transported to Southampton Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The investigation led detectives to charge the child’s mother, 24-year-old Shameyer Ashburn, with murder. She is being held at the Western Tidewater Regional Jail without bond.
The affidavit said Ashburn initially claimed the child died from accidentally choking on an object. A detective who was in the emergency room said the child appeared to have trauma to the face, according to the affidavit.
Franklin Police Captain Timothy Whitt said the boy was bleeding from the mouth when police arrived. Detectives are awaiting a report from the medical examiner to determine the cause of the child’s death.
“It’s heart wrenching, very much so,” Whitt said. “Our initial officers who responded and the investigator, they took this very seriously, but it definitely affects us all when a child is killed.”
Whitt said it was not clear why Ashburn and her three children were staying at the motel, but they checked in the night before the child’s death. A social services representative took Ashburn’s 1-year-old and 3-year-old into custody and they were examined at a hospital.
Ashburn declined to talk to 10 On Your Side from jail Friday and family at her home did not want to comment. Neighbor Junnie Edwards said he was surprised by the allegations.
“I just couldn’t believe it. I still don’t,” Edwards said. “I don’t think she would do nothing like that. From what I know of the family, you know, they’re nice people.”
Ashburn was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.