Orange County VA May 24 2017 Two people are facing multiple charges of child neglect after a 4-year-old Orange County boy got ahold of a gun and shot himself to death.
On Monday, an Orange County grand jury issued indictments of child neglect and reckless handling of a firearm against 25-year-old Nicholas Joseph Stoia, a recruit with the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office, and child-care provider Heather Christine Massey, 27. They were arrested that evening.
Massey faces one felony count of abuse or neglect of children, four felony counts of cruelty or injuries to children and four misdemeanor counts of recklessly handling or leaving a loaded firearm and endangering a child.
Stoia faces one felony count of abuse or neglect of children and four misdemeanor counts of recklessly handling or leaving a loaded firearm and endangering a child.
The incident happened at about 12:45 p.m. May 15 at the Cecilia Lane home of Massey and Stoia, who are engaged. Orange County deputies and rescue personnel attempted life-saving measures, but Cole James Clark was pronounced dead at the scene.
Cole had been taken to his babysitter’s house just an hour before he died, his parents said. A GoFundMe page, titled “Cole’s Funeral Fund,” has raised more than $24,000 to pay for funeral arrangements. Ceremonies were held over the weekend.
The charges against Stoia and Massey are related to other children in the home at the time of the incident, police said. Stoia was not at the home at the time of the incident, and the firearm involved was not his service weapon.
Authorities did not say whether Stoia still was enrolled as a recruit at the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy.
Both currently are being held without bond at the Central Virginia Regional Jail.