Murder charges for baby’s parents

Published 10:53 pm Monday, January 26, 2009

The parents of an 11-month-old baby who was found dead in her Third Avenue home last month have both been charged with murder, according to a city spokesperson.

In a press release late Monday, Debbie George stated that the parents of Zanya K. Jones had been indicted by a grand jury on one count of murder each.

Linwood Jones Jr. and Shawntay D. Jones, both 25, were arrested Monday night. They previously had been charged with three counts of felony abuse and neglect of children in connection with the incident.

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Zanya Jones was pronounced dead at the scene Dec. 1, when rescue workers were called to the home on a report of an unresponsive child. Upon arrival, they found the girl lying on the living room floor. She was cold to the touch, and rigor mortis already had begun in her arms and legs.

The parents and other relatives were screaming when paramedics arrived, but nobody was attempting to resuscitate the child, according to a search warrant.

The home was in a state of general disarray, with trash and food covering the kitchen floor and other parts of the house. At the time, George said there had been “very little heat” in the home, and there was no running water. Feces was found in the bathroom, she said.

“It appears obvious that the children were neglected,” she told a reporter in December. “Whether that neglect led to this death, we don’t know at this point.”

After the medical examiner’s office determined that Zanya “died of dehydration and malnutrition due to medical and nutritional neglect,” Monday’s statement asserts. The commonwealth’s attorney’s office sought the indictments.

The parents had been released on bonds of $5,000 each by a juvenile court in December. Following Monday’s arrests, they were taken back to Western Tidewater Regional Jail, where they were being held without bond, George said in her release.