YORK COUNTY — A woman is under arrest in the deaths of an 11-month-old child and a dog after they were left in a car for several hours in York County, according to the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office.
York-Poquoson Sheriff Ron Montgomery announced at a press briefing Wednesday that investigators had arrested 40-year-old Kristen Danielle Graham, of the 3600 block of Seaford Road in Yorktown, who served as a part-time caretaker for the child. Graham has been charged with one felony count of child neglect and one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty.
The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office (YPSO) said it had responded to a call at approximately 4 p.m. Tuesday to Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News after a man in his 80s walked into the emergency room and announced to staff that he had a deceased child in the back of his vehicle. Emergency room personnel found a black plastic trash bag, in the hatch of the vehicle, and inside they discovered the child.
Montgomery said the Investigations Division of the York County Sheriff’s Office then conducted an investigation that later led to the arrest.
The investigation revealed at approximately 1 a.m. Monday night, Graham put the child and a small dog in the back of the vehicle and transported them to Newport News. After stopping for some time at a friend’s place, Graham arrived home at approximately 8 a.m., rolled the windows up on the car and turned it off, leaving the dog and the child in the vehicle. Around 2-2:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, she was awakened by a phone call and went outside to check on the child. Both the child and the dog were dead, YPSO said.
“I can tell you that the mood of the agency today when we had a briefing on it this morning, is somewhat shock and disbelief, even though we’re professionals and we have to do everything that we possibly can do to do a thorough professional investigation,” Montgomery said. “We have children ourselves and I can tell you that we all go home and hug our kids and our grandkidsa little tighter after something like this happens.”
Graham has been transported to Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail, where she currently remains. Montgomery said his office is awaiting the results of an autopsy, adding there’s a “very good possibility” that the charges could be upgraded to homicide charges.