Parents who kept a mentally disabled 6-year-old daughter in a makeshift cage covered in her own feces won't face murder charges for another child, an infant son, found buried near the couple's Virginia home.
Gloucester County Judge Isabel Atlee said the state's case against Brian Gore, 29, and his wife, Shannon Gore, 25, was too weak in regard to the deceased child, born Aug. 3, 2007. They will, however, face felony charges for the alleged mistreatment of their daughter.
The infant's remains, found beneath a freestanding shed on the Gores' property in April, were so badly decomposed that the medical examiner's office was unable to determine a cause of death. Authorities were unable to find any medical records related to the child.
After the hearing, Shannon Gore's attorney, Ron Smith, said there was no evidence of intent to kill.
"It's a bad case of neglect, and I don't think anybody's going to deny that," Smith told reporters.
Commonwealth's Attorney Bob Hicks did not give a statement after the hearing. Speaking with The Daily Press, he said he was not surprised the murder charges were thrown out.
"I didn't give [the judge] anything to work with on that," Hicks said.
In the same proceeding, Judge Atlee also ruled there was enough probable cause for charges of felony child neglect and attempted murder for the case to go to a grand jury. Those charges are in reference to the Gores' treatment of their daughter, who was found severely malnourished.
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 investigation into the case began on April 28, when deputies from the Gloucester County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant at the Gores' home in the Waterview Mobile Home Park in Hayes, a small community located about 20 miles west of Williamsburg. Authorities were investigating a theft and had received information that some of the items might be in the Gores' home.
However, once at the residence, the scope of the investigation changed when deputies found the Gores' daughter inside the filthy makeshift cage.
The child was transported to a children's hospital, where doctors told police the child 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 the other infant's remains in the Gores' yard, buried under a freestanding shed.
Neighbors told local media outlets that they knew about the 1-month-old boy but were unaware of the little girl or the child who was found buried in the yard.
"I knew they had a baby. They had a new baby, little boy," neighbor Danny Blackwell told WDAM 7 News. "I thought [he] was their first child."
The Gores remain jailed without bond at Gloucester County Jail. The grand jury is scheduled to convene on Jan. 3.