Cases Move Forward Against Jefferson Co. Couple Charged for Medical Neglect of Three Children

JEFFERSON CO., Pa. (EYT) – The cases against Reynoldsville couple are accused of medical neglect of three children moved forward in court on Thursday.

Court documents indicate the following charges against each 28-year-old John James Bowley and 28-year-old Shelisha Louise Stewart were waived for court on August 20:

– Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Felony 3 (three counts)

The charges have been transferred to the Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas.

Both defendants remain free on $10,000.00 each unsecured bail.

The charges stem from an investigation into a case of suspected child neglect.

Details of the case:

According to a criminal complaint, on July 11, 2019, a known infant was diagnosed with failure to thrive, and the child’s mother, Shelisha Louise Stewart, was advised to take the child to the Children’s Hospital Emergency Room. When the advising doctor did not receive notice that the child was admitted, she made a Childline report.

On January 6, 2020, a representative of Jefferson County Children and Youth Services (CYS) advised police that the infant was taken from the residence with a court order due to failure to thrive. The CYS representative then received medical records for the infant as well as information that the child’s parents, John James Bowley and Shelisha Louise Stewart had canceled and rescheduled 12 appointments for the child and had not shown up for nine of them, according to the complaint.

The complaint notes that in one week of being in foster care, the child gained weight and began to thrive.

According to the complaint, three other children were taken from the residence on January 9 for medical neglect. The CYS representative told police she believes the children all have dental issues and are all very small for their age. She also noted Bowley and Stewart were offered help and WIC, but they refused.

The complaint notes the infant’s foster parent informed police that when she got the child on January 6, he was pale, his legs were weak, and he could not crawl. He also didn’t have a bowel movement until January 8. She noted that he began to regain color and have normal bowel movements by January 9 and had no issues with eating despite a medical issue.

According to the complaint, the infant gained 9.5 ounces in the first week he was in foster care.

Police also spoke with a home health nurse that had been assigned to the infant after he was born. The complaint states the nurse reported Stewart “would always tell her the right things” about how the child was eating, but she didn’t know how Stewart was really doing things when she wasn’t there. She also noted that the family was offered help and WIC, but refused, according to the complaint.

A report from the infant’s doctor noted that the child was in the 71 percentile for weight when he was born, but had dropped to the zero percentile. The doctor also stated when the infant was in the care of his parents, she observed “poor bonding and interaction among them,” and said Stewart seemed “detached and uninterested” as well as “unconcerned” about his weight gain issues, the complaint indicates.

The doctor also noted that while the child didn’t interact or smile during his earlier exams, he was happy and interactive with the foster family, and had begun to thrive, the complaint continues.

Police also spoke with a known woman who is fostering the three older children from the household.

According to the complaint, she reported the children were seen at UPMC Children’s Hospital on November 6, 2019, and she was told two of them needed a lot of dental work, including root canals, crowns, and extractions, which will require sedation.

The foster mother also reported that the seven-year-old child was used to setting an alarm on his iPad because he had to get himself and the other children ready for school each day.

Police also spoke to a school nurse who related that one of the children had failed his school vision screening two years in a row, and his parents had been notified that he needed glasses. It was reported that Stewart then took him to an eye doctor in October of 2019, but did not get him glasses. The same child also reportedly failed his dental exams two years in a row.

Police received dental records for two of the victims from Jefferson County CYS on March 26, 2020. The victims both had extensive dental work in 2018 and were supposed to return for follow-up appointments, but did not show up. The records indicated the parents, Bowley and Stewart, were contacted by phone and letter to schedule well exams but did not comply, according to the complaint.

Stewart and Bowley were arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge David B. Inzana at 9:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., respectively, on July 23.


Copyright © 2021 EYT Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of the contents of this service without the express written consent of EYT Media Group, Inc. is expressly prohibited.

Comments are temporarily closed. A new and improved comments section will be added soon.