By David Lohr | The Huffington Post
A Virginia couple who allegedly kept their mentally disabled 6-year-old daughter in a makeshift cage, covered in her own feces, have been charged with homicide in the death of their infant son.
According to Gloucester County Commonwealth Attorney Holly Smith, a grand jury has indicted Brian and Shannon Gore with homicide in the death of their 7-month-old son, Connor.
The investigation into the case began in April 2011 when deputies from the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at the Gore’s home in Hayes, a small community about 20 miles west of Williamsburg. Authorities were investigating a theft and had received information that some of the items might be in the Gore’s home.
However, once inside the residence, the scope of the investigation changed when deputies found the Gore’s mentally disabled 6-year-old daughter shut inside a filthy, makeshift cage.
At the time of the couple’s arrest, Lt. Scott Little of the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office told The Huffington Post it was the worst case of child abuse he had ever seen.
“She was in the crib nude and covered with feces,” Little said.
The child was suffering from severe starvation and, according to court documents, “was eating flakes of skin that were falling off her.” The girl appeared to have been inside the crib — which had been turned into a crude jail cell — for a significant period of time, police said. The girl also reportedly suffers from Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy.
The child was transported to a children’s hospital, where doctors told police she would have likely died within a week if she had not been rescued. She has since recovered from her injuries.
A second child, a 1-month-old male, was also found inside the Gore residence. He was found to be in good condition and was placed into protective custody.
During the same search, police discovered Connor Gore’s remains in the Gore’s yard, buried under a freestanding shed. Brian Gore allegedly told investigators that the child, who was born in 2007, died in infancy after experiencing breathing trouble. He said he did not call 911 because he was afraid of officials discovering the girl kept in a cage, police said.
The infant’s remains were so badly decomposed that the medical examiner’s office was unable to determine a cause of death, police said.
In March 2013, Shannon, 27, and Brian, 32, pleaded guilty to felony child abuse and entered an Alford plea on charges of aggravated malicious wounding. The Alford plea is not an admission of guilt, but an acknowledgement that there is enough evidence for a conviction.
Three months later, in June 2013, Judge Bruce Long sentenced Brian and Shannon Gore to 30 years in prison.
“Your daughter looks like somebody in a Nazi death camp,” Long said at the sentencing hearing. “I ask myself, as do your attorneys, ‘how can one human being do this to another?'”
From the beginning of the investigation into the Gores, the prosecution wanted to charge them with Connor Gore’s death. However, Gloucester County Judge Isabel Atlee ruled in December 2011 that the state’s case against the couple was too weak to proceed. However, all that changed this week after the grand jury finished reviewing the evidence.
“The grand jury … was presented evidence in support of the charges,” Smith said in a press release. “The charges are a result of additional information received about the remains of the child found buried under the shed.”
Smith has yet to elaborate on what additional information was presented to the grand jury. A court date for the Gores has not yet been set.