Neighbors react after grandparents charged in death 5-year-old girl


NEW BOSTON, OH (WOWK) – The arraignment of a couple who have been charged in the death of their 5-year-old grandaughter took place this morning.

Sonya and Richard Greene of New Boston took place were each charged with one count of aggravated murder, one count of murder in the first degree and three counts of felony assault in the death of 5-year-old Annabell Greene, who was left in their custody.

Annabell and her two siblings, ages 7 and 3 had been placed in the foster care of Richard Greene, their biological grandfather, by the Scioto County Children Services Agency.

Police were first made aware of this incident when they were called to a hospital emergency room yesterday morning. The child was flown to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus where she later died.

Neighbors of the Greenes say they were shocked by the news.

“You would never know it,” neighbor David Bowling said. “They were quiet, you know what I mean? I seen ’em in the yard, say ‘Hey, hello,’ that’s about it. You really didn’t know what was going on behind closed doors.”

But Bowling said he was amazed at how fast the police department responded.

“The law enforcement here, they got on it extremely quick,” he said. “I mean it was amazing. New Boston and Scioto County both. I mean, it happened Wednesday … Thursday they had an arrest made.”

The couple was arraigned by video on the charges of murder and felony assault. Richard Greene has also been charged with aggravated assault of the two other children.

Another neighbor, Delena Pack, says she couldn’t believe it.

“I was shocked because I didn’t hear anything,” she said. “If I had known anything like that was going on, I would have called the police … Justice for those kids. That’s all I want.”

In a statement sent late today to 13 news, Scioto County Children Services says it is “saddened” by the death and working with the state on a review.

Both defendants are being held without bond for the aggravated murder charge. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 16 at the Portsmouth Municipal Court. From there, it will be presented to a grand jury – something the county prosecutor has already begun preparing the case for.

Late today, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued a statement, noting this is the second child to die in the past year which was in the care of the county agency.

“Early Thursday morning, the Department of Job and Family Services received notice that a child in the custody of Scioto County Children Services died under questionable circumstances late Wednesday night,” he said. “This fatality follows the tragic death of Dylan Groves in March of 2019. I have directed ODJFS to conduct a full administrative review of this case, and I am grateful to the new Scioto County Children Services Director Jason Mantell for his full cooperation in this investigation. Because this is an ongoing investigation, we can only provide limited details at this time.”

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