New charges filed in 1-year-old’s death

GREENFIELD — Jessica Wagoner signed Department of Child Services safety plans three times agreeing to keep her children away from her husband, who police say was the last person to see their 1-year-old daughter alive, court records state.

As the investigation into Zoey Wagoner’s death continues, prosecutors have filed new charges against the child’s mother, saying she violated an order from the Henry County Department of Child Service that barred Matthew Wagoner from having contact with her children.

Both Matthew Wagoner, 31, and Jessica Wagoner, 33, were charged with murder and neglect of a dependent resulting in death after Zoey died at their Greenfield home May 28. Coroners ruled her death a homicide after medical reports showed she sustained multiple blunt-force trauma injuries, including lacerations to her liver that police believe were caused by someone stomping on her, court documents state.

Now, Jessica Wagoner faces an additional Level 1 felony count of neglect of a dependent resulting in death along with two Level 6 felony counts of neglect of a dependent for endangering her two other children, court documents state.

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Charging documents do not detail what behavior led Henry County officials to believe Matthew Wagoner would harm his wife’s children, but court records show he currently faces four felony child abuse charges, including molestation.

New Castle police officers investigated Matthew Wagoner after a young girl reported she was fondled while staying the night at his home in November 2013, court documents state. The girl also said she saw the man who fondled her having sex with another young girl, police said. In January 2014, two women told New Castle police officers they found pictures of a naked young girl on Matthew Wagoner’s cellphone, court documents state.

Wagoner is charged with two counts of child molestation, one Class A felony and one Class C felony; and one Class C felony of child exploitation in that case, which has been continued until after the murder trial in Hancock County, court records show.

Matthew Wagoner also pleaded guilty and served time in Henry County on a charge of domestic battery in 2012, court records show.

In February, August and October of last year, Jessica Wagoner signed protection plans with the Henry County Department of Child Services in which she “specifically agreed to keep the children away from Matt Wagoner for their safety,” court documents state.

On May 19, Jessica and Matthew Wagoner signed a lease together to rent a home in the 500 block of Wood Street in Greenfield, court documents state.

Ten days later, police were called to that home after Zoey Wagoner was found blue and unresponsive, according to court documents. Despite emergency crews’ attempts to revive her, she never regained consciousness. She was pronounced dead around 10 a.m. May 28, although investigators believe the abuse that caused her death likely occurred hours earlier, court documents state.

Zoey Wagoner might have already been dead when Matthew Wagoner pushed her in a stroller on his way to get a soda at a Greenfield gas station near the couple’s home earlier that day, court documents state; his path took him past Hancock Regional Hospital twice.

Text messages between Jessica and Matthew Wagoner suggest they knew their daughter was injured, but they failed to seek medical attention as her condition declined, citing fears the Department of Child Services would be called, court documents state.

After their arrest, Zoey’s parents pointed fingers at each other after medical reports showed a pattern of abuse; police say the injuries suggest the child “had lived in hell for a year,” court documents state.

Jessica Wagoner told police her husband has a temper, that Department of Child Services showed up at their door regularly because of his actions, court documents state.

Zoey was one of three children living in the home on Wood Street, court documents state.

Jessica Wagoner said her husband never hit the children, then she later said she did not trust him to be alone with Zoey, court records state.

Matthew Wagoner told police it was his wife who was aggressive with the baby. He told police she often hit the child, slapped her with a bottle and held a hand over her mouth and nose when she cried. He said he watched his wife punch Zoey in the stomach on at least one occasion, court documents state.

Jessica Wagoner returns to court Feb. 3; her trial in the murder case is scheduled for Feb. 22.

An attorney for Matthew Wagoner, whose trial is scheduled for Jan. 25, asked the court for a psychological evaluation for his client to determine if he is “not responsible by insanity,” court records state.

Results of that evaluation were not released, and Matthew Wagoner’s trial date remains on the court’s calendar.

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Noelle Steele is editor of the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3232 or