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Extra child endangerment charge filed against Poplar Bluff couple arrested in Cape Girardeau

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sterling Marshall
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A pair of Poplar Bluff residents arrested in Cape Girardeau for alleged abusing their children have been charged with another count of endangering the welfare of a child for failing to seek medial treatment for their boys' injuries, the Daily American Republic reported. The charges against Donnisha Marie Nelson, 22, and Sterling D. Marshall, 28, were amended Monday by Butler County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Bill Gresham from one felony of first-degree endangering the welfare of a child to two. The complaints on file with the court allege that Dec. 29, Nelson and Marshall endangered the toddlers by failing to seek medical attention for the burns on the 23-month-old and for the broken jaw of the 3-year-old. Nelson and Marshall were arrested on the original endangering charge Friday night at a Cape Girardeau motel.

They were brought back to Poplar Bluff, where officers interviewed them, Deputy Chief Jeff Rolland said.

"To our amazement and disappointment, they were bonded out before we could even transport them" to the Butler County jail, police chief Danny Whiteley said. They were released after posting $50,000 cash bonds.

Donnisha Nelson
The pair were charged in connection with an investigation, which began at about 7 p.m. Wednesday when the Poplar Bluff Police Department assisted the Department of Social Services in looking into a hot line call of possible child abuse at a residence in the 1200 block of Apple Street.

The allegations involved two young children being injured and medical treatment being withheld for several days, police Lt. David Sutton said in his probable cause statement.

Specifically, he said, the 23 month old had been "burned, and Sterling Marshall struck [the 3 year old] in the face."

When authorities arrived at the home, Sutton said, patrolman James Henry knocked repeatedly on the front door, but received no response.

"[He] heard children crying in the residence, and made entry through an unsecured door at the rear of the residence," Sutton explained. "Inside, Officer Henry found Sterling Marshall hiding in a bedroom and found Donnisha Nelson hiding in the bathroom with the children."

Examination of the children, Sutton said, confirmed they were injured in a "manner consistent" with the report and that "necessary medical attention had been withheld."

The children, according to earlier reports, were taken to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center, where they were treated and released.

"According to medical staff, [the younger toddler] had serious [second- and third-degree] burns on several locations on his body, and [the 3 year old] has suffered a broken jaw," Sutton said.

Upon evaluation of the 23 month old, Rolland said, medical personnel found 53 individual burn marks in "different stages of healing. Twenty-one were on his chest and back.

"There were numerous on each leg, as well as each arm. The child also had numerous burns on the neck and face, to include his ears and lips."

During an initial interview with Nelson, she reportedly outlined an accidental cause for the injuries.

"The burns are not consistent with the story the mother had relayed to us," Rolland said.

Whiteley agreed.

"We can think of no scenario that comes close to matching her rendition of the events to create the enormous amount of injuries to the child," Whiteley said.

According to Sutton, Lowerstine Nelson-Green told officers during an interview that prior to the child abuse hot line call, she had approached her sister and had offered to take the children for medical treatment.

"Donnisha Nelson refused, saying that she feared she would be accused of abusing the children," Sutton said.

Under the direction of Family Services, the boys reportedly were removed from their home last week and placed with a relative, who is being monitored by Family Services officials.

A juvenile hearing, Rolland said, was held Tuesday, during which Nelson requested a chance to hire an attorney. For now the children, he said, will remain in the custody of family members under continued supervision.

"We find it incomprehensible that a parent would allow this type of injuries to occur to their children and then not seek immediate medical help," Rolland said. "It is our opinion that the two children in question should never be given back to these individuals.

"They have demonstrated through their actions and inaction that they do not have the safety and welfare of these helpless children first and foremost in their minds."

Nelson and Marshall are to appear at 9 a.m. Jan. 20 before Associate Circuit Judge John Bloodworth for arraignment on the charges.

"The investigation is continuing," Rolland said. "We are conducting follow-up interviews, which continue to discredit the scenario the mother has presented to us to explain the injuries to both children."

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The only thing that I can say...is that these 2 adults should NEVER be allowed near ANY children, ever again. These two innocent children should be protected, along with every other child!!!

-- Posted by cougar63755 on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 11:48 AM

Is that the face you will be making when your boyfriend wants to cuddle Sterling ?

I hope so.........................

-- Posted by rockman54 on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 12:13 PM

Wow. It's totally amazing that a mother would let someone do this to her children. Fry them both!

-- Posted by Hot Dog on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 12:16 PM

Only one thing to say. THIS is when the State NEEDS to step up and help the children! (NO, STATE SHOULD HAVE STEPPED UP SOONER! Kids should NOT have to go through that stuff!) Not when parents ARE taking care of kids! We have WAY too many kids that ARE being abused to be taking kids from loving parents.

-- Posted by Angel of Misrule on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 12:17 PM

Simply heartbreaking..... I hope those children are never allowed back with these sick individuals.

-- Posted by idontknow on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 1:26 PM

Some stats say that 48 per cent of Missouris children are subject to some form of abuse, this was on kfvs12 news some time ago. I thought it was an error or perhaps ignorance. But since this couple bonded out (where do they get the $$$ or is the bail for mistreating 2 children that low?) and will probably get a slap on the wrist and their kids back (the state cannot deal financially with 48 per cent of the states abused children being taken away from their parents) how can anyone stop it? I cannot imagine the Hell these kids went thru.

-- Posted by ArcticFox on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 1:29 PM

Fry them both! Better yet, lock them up, burn them repeatedly, break a few bones and leave them there to rot. Those poor, defenseless children did not deserve this. An eye for an eye, right?

-- Posted by luccig28 on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 2:11 PM

I thought the same thing rocketman. But I didn't think it in so nice of terms. I hope their mama's are proud to see these two's pictures in the paper. What trash!

-- Posted by ethicsinlife on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 8:59 PM

I can't wait to hear that he had those big yellow teeth knocked out of his big fat stupid looking head!

-- Posted by Hot Dog on Fri, Jan 7, 2011, at 5:43 PM

You know drug money HAD to be the way they were bonded out...You don't live on Apple St. in Poplar Bluff and be able to bond out on that high of a bond for each person. In the middle of the night you can smell some shake and bake going on around Apple st/Main St. areas, especially if you are driving around there and your windows are down, which is what happened this past summer. Cops said he couldn't smell anything...(roll DOWN your window, Barney Fife!) Maybe that's how they got bond. The cops will be lucky if they show up for court.

-- Posted by mary70 on Sat, Jan 8, 2011, at 5:47 PM

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