Mother charged with murder in death of severely disabled 13-year-old

Mother charged with murder in death of severely disabled 13-year-old
Amy FaJohn, left, and Anthony Saunders were charged in the boy's death. (Source: Hopewell police)
Amy FaJohn, left, and Anthony Saunders were charged in the boy's death. (Source: Hopewell police)

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - Two people have been arrested in the death of a 13-year-old in Hopewell.

Hopewell police responded to a home in the 400 block of 8th Avenue at 9:30 p.m. Sunday and found a 13-year-old boy dead.

The boy's mother, Amy FaJohn, 36, was charged with first-degree murder and felony child neglect. Anthony Saunders, 34, who also lived at the home, was charged with felony child neglect. Additional charges are possible, pending an autopsy. Both are being held at Riverside Regional Jail. Their next court date is Nov. 8.

According to family, the boy, Jalen Goldsborough, was born healthy but was severely shaken by his biological father a few weeks into his life. He was diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome.

While his father was sent to prison, the boy became a prisoner in his own body, unable to walk, talk or eat on his own. He survived on a feeding tube.

Jalen needed 24-hour care and was in and out of the hospital several times for different surgeries.

Family member say it was recently discovered he couldn't control his own body temperature.

"I'm scared because it's right across the street from me, so I'm very scared." neighbor Melessia Wheeler said.

Several neighbors say they are stunned by the accusations.

"It was chaotic, police were pulling up and jumping out. Running full stride to the house." Wheeler said.

Police say they got the call from his grandmother, FaJohn's mother, just after 9:30 p.m. Sunday and found Jalen dead inside the home.

His body was taken to the chief medical examiner's office for an autopsy and determine the time and cause of death.

Family said FaJohn and Saunders have two children ages 9 and 6, who also lived in the home. Police said those children are in the custody of other family members. The incident is under investigation by law enforcement and Child Protective Services.

Another neighbor said the other children were occasionally seen, but they were not aware of Jalen.

Police spent Sunday evening searching for answers.

"They were looking everywhere," Wheeler said. "Police were looking inside cars, under cars, they were looking everywhere."

Neighbors say the family was very quiet and the children rarely ventured outside.

"I have been living on this block for about five months and I didn't even know there were kids living in the house." neighbor David Maillard said.

As investigators wait for an official autopsy, the community is having a hard time trying to understand what took place.

"That's tough man, I'm not lying," another neighbor said. "A child doesn't ask to be here so you need to treat the kids with respect."

Anyone with information is asked to call Prince George Crime Stoppers at (804) 541-2202.

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