Parents charged in death of infant found unresponsive at Ashland - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side


Parents charged in death of infant found unresponsive at Ashland motel

Gerald Luna (Source: Rappahannock Regional Jail) Gerald Luna (Source: Rappahannock Regional Jail)
Sarah Newton (Source: Pamunkey Regional Jail) Sarah Newton (Source: Pamunkey Regional Jail)

A one-month-old baby died of asphyxiation in Ashland, and now the parents Gerald Luna, 23, and Sarah Newton, 22, are facing felony child neglect charges. They're both in jail without bond.

The medical examiner reports that the baby girl died of asphyxiation, because of an airway obstruction. However, the manner of death (whether this was an accident or not, etc.) is undetermined.

Ashland police say the infant died at the Shady Grove Motel, last October. Police say both parents were in the room, when they called police at 1 a.m. on October 21.

"We received a call from the room in reference to an unresponsive infant. Officers responded in attempt to assist with the situation. EMS responded as well," said Ashland police officer Chip Watts.

First responders did all they can to try to bring the child to back to life, but the infant was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Now, Luna and Newton, who is 11 weeks pregnant according to court documents, are facing the neglect charges. Newton was living in Spotsylvania, and Luna was in Florida- free until May 18, when detectives executed the arrest warrant.

Detectives say the investigation was meticulous, taking seven months to bring charges, while the pair remained free.

"It was a very complex and lengthy investigation. There was substantial physical evidence, as well as ongoing interviews to determine the facts, before we obtain the warrants," said Watts.

A felony child neglect charges carries a two to ten year sentence in prison. Luna will be arraigned tomorrow. Newton's next court appearance is July 2.

Luna is currently being held at the Rappahannock Regional Jail and Newton is being held at the Pamunkey Regional Jail.

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