Wythe County Sheriff: Mother, boyfriend charged in connection to toddler’s death in New River

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WYTHE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7) -- The Wythe County Sheriff's Office released further information after the body of a three-year-old was recovered from the New River early Wednesday morning.

Josie Burleson was last seen near the Bertha Farms area of Barren Springs.

Sheriff Keith Dunagan said more than 100 people searched for the body of three-year-old Josie Burleson, who was later recovered a little after 1:00 a.m. by rescue teams 100-yards under the water.

According to a press release from the Wythe County Sheriff's Office the mother of the child, Kimberly Dawn Moore, and the boyfriend, Adrian Neil Puckett, have been arrested and charged with felony child neglect with reckless disregard for life and felony child endangerment.

Dunagan said, after interviewing Moore and Puckett, they both stated the child was playing outside near the New River Trail and wandered off.

Authorities also disclosed both Moore and Puckett were under the influence of meth at the time Josie went missing. Further charges are possible.

They're both being held at the New River Regional Jail without bond.

The rental house the family was visiting was located at 290 Rocky Road, within 150 yards of the New River.

In the 36 years that Dunagan worked as the Sheriff of Wythe County, he said there have been "several" drownings in the New River but, "When it's a small child, it's really different. Probably the worst thing for the responders is the fact that it is a small child because it tugs at your heart a little bit more."


Kimberly Moore (left) and Adrian Puckett (right). Courtesy of the New River Regional Jail.


 
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