Missing 3-year-old found dead; Mother, boyfriend charged with felony child neglect

Missing 3-year-old found dead; Mother, boyfriend charged with felony child neglect
The Wythe County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed the death of 3-year-old Josie Burleson. (Source: WDBJ7)

WYTHE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7) - The Wythe County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed the death of 3-year-old Josie Burleson.

Wythe County Sheriff Keith Dunagan said more than 100 people searched for the Josie’s body, who was later recovered a little after 1 a.m. by rescue teams 100-yards under the water.

Burleson’s mother, Kimberly Moore, and her boyfriend, Adrian Puckett, have been arrested and charged with felony child neglect with reckless disregard for life and felony child endangerment.

Burleson’s mother, Kimberly Moore, and her boyfriend, Adrian Puckett, have been arrested and charged with felony child neglect with reckless disregard for life and felony child endangerment.
Burleson’s mother, Kimberly Moore, and her boyfriend, Adrian Puckett, have been arrested and charged with felony child neglect with reckless disregard for life and felony child endangerment. (Source: WDBJ7)

Sheriff Dunagan said after interviewing Moore and Puckett, they both stated the child was playing outside near the New River Trail and wandered off.

Authorities also said both Moore and Puckett were under the influence of meth at the time Josie went missing. Further charges are possible.

They’re both being held at the New River Regional Jail without bond.

The rental house the family was visiting was located at 290 Rocky Road and the house was within 150 yards of the New River.

In the 36 years that Dunagan worked as the Sheriff of Wythe County, he said there have been “several” drownings in the New River but, “when it’s a small child, it’s really different. Probably the worst thing for the responders is the fact that it is a small child because it tugs at your heart a little bit more.”

Burleson went missing after being last seen playing by the New River Trail near Bertha Farms.

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