Parents charged in death of child plead not guilty
GREENFIELD — The parents of a 1-year-old found dead in her Greenfield home last week pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and neglect in Hancock County Superior Court 1.
Family members of Zoey Wagoner, whose death was ruled a homicide, gathered at the Hancock County Courthouse to watch the proceedings.
A dozen of Zoey’s loved ones were in the courtroom as her parents, Matthew and Jessica Wagoner, appeared for their initial hearings Tuesday morning.
If convicted of both charges, the Wagoners face more than 100 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines. Murder carries a penalty of up to 60 years and $10,000 in fines, and neglect of a dependent causing death, a Level 1 felony, carries a penalty of up to 40 years and $10,000 in fines.
Zoey was found dead in her home in the 500 block of Wood Street in Greenfield on May 28, having suffered multiple blunt-force trauma injuries, including lacerations to her liver, court documents state. A baby sitter called 911 around 9:30 a.m., saying the child was blue and unresponsive.
Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton asked the judge to hold the couple in jail without bond.
Judge Terry Snow set bail at $250,000 for Jessica Wagoner and at $500,000 for Matthew Wagoner, who has pending child molestation charges in Henry County.
It appears unlikely either can bond out.
Schools to crack down on truancy for 2015-16 year
GREENFIELD — Parents who don’t take their children to school could be reported to law enforcement officials earlier next school year for possible prosecution, under a stricter countywide truancy policy.
Prosecutor Brent Eaton is requiring school administrators to report students who have missed 15 or more school days in the year, starting with the 2015-16 school year. The current threshold is 21.
And while Eaton understands there are legitimate excuses for missing school — illness or funerals, for example — he hopes the reporting process will be streamlined, and local officials can come to some conclusions about why students are missing school.
Now, school administrators will notify parents at about five absences that their children are accumulating excessive absences. Parents will be called in to meet with school officials before 15 absences have been reached. Then the child’s case will be sent to Joshua Sipes, juvenile department supervisor for the Hancock County Probation Department.
Sipes said he will then determine whether the Department of Child Services or the county prosecutor should be notified.
Depriving a child of an education falls under the Indiana criminal code of neglect. The Level 6 felony is punishable by up to 2½ years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Second Match Day campaign set for 12 local nonprofits
GREENFIELD — The Hancock County Community Foundation is eagerly preparing for its second Match Day campaign, and the organization’s leaders hope a larger pool of money this time around will make an even bigger impact around the county.
The event, set to take place July 24, is a 24-hour donation drive. Twelve local nonprofits, each dedicated to a different facet of the community, have been selected to participate, said Mary Gibble, community foundation president.
During Match Day, donors can make a donation to any of these groups, and their gift will be boosted by a proportional contribution from the foundation and a 50-cents-on-the-dollar match from the Lilly Endowment, Gibble said.
In 2012, Match Day brought in more than $200,000 from the public, which was increased by $33,000 from the foundation. This year’s matching pool totals $170,000, and Gibble said she’s excited to see what good will come from this year’s campaign.
The organizations participating in Match Day are: Bradley United Methodist Church; Families United for Support and Encouragement; Greenfield Parks and Recreation; Hancock County 4-H Agricultural Association; Hancock County Food Pantry; Hancock County Public Library; Hancock County Senior Services; Hancock Hope House; Leaders in Navigating Knowledge; Love INC; Nameless Creek Youth Camp; and Sugar Creek Township Park.