By Associated Press - Wednesday, March 10, 2021

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) - A West Virginia man has been charged with murder and abuse in the death of a 4-year-old boy, officials said.

The charges against Walter Everett Richardson III, 33, were upgraded Tuesday after the boy died, news outlets reported, citing a statement from Fairmont police.

Richardson was initially arrested last week on charges of malicious wounding and child abuse resulting in injury, but those charges were dropped, police said.

Officers responded to call March 4 about an unresponsive child with facial injuries, a police statement said. The boy had several blunt force injuries, lacerations and broken teeth, a criminal complaint said. His mother told officers he was “healthy and uninjured” when she left for work, the complaint said. The boy was in Richardson’s care when he was injured, according to authorities.

Richardson remained in the North Central Regional Jail on Tuesday. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he has an attorney.

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