Parents Charged With Abusing, Killing 1-Year-Old Girl

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Jessica and Matthew Wagoner.Jessica and Matthew Wagoner.

Zoey Wagoner, a 1-year-old from Greenfield, Indiana, was found unconscious, bruised and foaming at the mouth on May 28 by police. She was later pronounced dead and now her parents have been charged with her death.

According to documents filed with Hancock Superior Court, Matthew and Jessica Wagoner both knew their daughter was seriously hurt, but refused to seek medical care. In fact, Matthew passed by Hancock Regional Hospital, knowing his daughter was in dire straits, to get a drink from a nearby convenience store, reports Indy Star.

Investigators claim Zoey might have already been dead when her father took her into the convenience store. Matthew was giving Zoey CPR when the emergency workers responded to the call about her condition.

After Zoey died, the couple claimed Zoey fell off the bed, but an autopsy revealed a pattern of abuse. The toddler had bruises on her face, lips, neck, buttocks and abdomen as well as internal injuries to her intestines, pancreas and liver.

Zoey’s arms has also been broken repeatedly and the injuries were in various stages of healing, reported Fox 59. The pathologist told police it appeared someone had stomped on her.

Though the couple had reportedly texted each other to collaborate on a story, they turned on each other when police began asking questions. “Matthew stated that he saw Jessica smack (Zoey) twice on Thursday morning (May 28)… Matthew stated he heard (Zoey) gasp for air when Jessica punched her,” court documents read.

Matthew added that on the day Zoey died, Jessica hit her across the face and hit her with a bottle. "The honest to God truth … Jessica beat the (expletive) out of that little girl all the time," he said.

Texts also revealed the Wagoners were worried the Indiana Department of Child Services would intervene if Zoey were hospitalized, reported The Indy Channel.

The family was no stranger to DCS. Matthew is accused of molesting a 9-year-old and taking photos of her genitals. He’s currently facing charges of felony child molestation and child exploitation. 

Both parents now each face charges of murder and neglect of a dependent resulting in death. 

Sources: Fox 59, Indy Star, The Indy Channel

Image via Fox 59