Parents charged in death of infant child

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 9:04 AM EDT
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BUNCOMBE COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) - A North Carolina couple is charged with the death of their 2-month-old daughter, Riley.

Nicholas Stephenson and Diandra Fuhr-Farlow were served with arrest warrants Tuesday.

According to one warrant, they intentionally and neglectfully left their daughter in a seriously injured state, which led to her death.

“Around average, just about over 70% of the time when a child dies from a homicide, it’s by the parents,” said Geoff Sidoli with Mountain Child Advocacy Center.

Sidoli says that child abuse is on the rise.

“When the economy does well, abuse and neglect go down, and when the economy and society don’t do well, those numbers tend to increase. Over the past 2 1/2 years, that’s what we’ve seen,” he said.

Another arrest warrant says the parents unlawfully, willfully and feloniously murdered Riley recklessly without regard for human life.

The warrants also describe multiple burns and broken bones in the infant.

“We actually probably don’t see that many in Buncombe County, though we have seen an increase in over the past five, 10 years or so,” Sidoli said.

It is unclear why authorities initially responded to the couple’s home.

“We have seen a large number of increases in our abuse numbers. Anywhere between 50% and 80% increases in sexual and physical abuse,“ Sidoli said.

Stephenson is charged with second-degree murder and negligent child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury. Fuhr-Farlow is charged with felonious child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury.

They both remain in jail.

“It’s not unusual that there have been other types of forms of abuse that occurred prior to a fatality,” Sidoli said.

Riley’s autopsy is scheduled for Friday morning.

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