Braxton Citizens' News, Government

Child neglect charges land Sutton man in jail

A call to Braxton 9-1-1 in mid-July has led to charges of child neglect against a Sutton man. Zachary Allen Canfield first called Braxton Control on July 17 at about 5:55 a.m. The dispatcher could hear screaming in the background and Canfield saying, “Don’t kill yourself,” according to the criminal complaint. Canfield told the dispatcher that Missy Keener was suffering from postpartum depression. Keener got on the phone and said that she had really long night because her daughter had just got out of the NICU and it had been “really stress.” Both Canfield and Keener declined offers by the dispatcher to send help and assured the telecommunicator the “everything was all right.”

On July 31 the WV DHHR received a referral from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital pertaining to Keener’s child which had been transferred to the facility from Summerville Regional Medical Center. Dr. Makoroff at the Myerson Center of Cincinnati Hospital told DHHR that they had determined that there was “significant evidence” and a medical history that supports the shaken baby syndrome. Both Misty Keener and Zachary Canfield denied to medical personnel that they had done anything that would have caused the injuries to the child.

Within hours of receiving the report, CPS workers accompanied Sgt. B.K. Smith, Cpl. C.D. Harper, Cpl. P.A. Huff and Sgt. D.L Gordon of the West Virginia State Police to Cincinnati to investigate. Upon arriving at the hospital Keener told the CPS workers and officers that she had been very stressed since the child’s birth. According to the criminal complaint, she said on July 29th she had “lost it” and shook the child causing the injuries.

The officers’ subsequent investigation revealed that Canfield, knowing Keeners mental state, including her threats of suicide, had left the children in Keener’s care. Officers further determined that the pair had conspired to abuse and neglect the children by telling the dispatcher on July 17 that everything had been resolved and refusing any further help, as well as telling medical staff that they did not know how the child was injured.

Cpl. P.A. Huff arrested Keener, age 23, August 2 charging him with felony child neglect with injury, gross child neglect and conspiracy. Keener was arraigned before Braxton County Magistrate David Singleton and lodged in the Central Regional Jail in lieu of a $50,000 cash only bond.

The investigation is continuing at press time. Additional arrests are likely.