UPDATE: Grand jury indicts three people accused of abusing three-year-old

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email
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James M. Abner, 31, Jessica Schneider, 32, and Sherry King, 54, are all charged with criminal abuse.

MGN Online

KNOX COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Update 8-28-14

The abuse case of Knox County mother, father, and grandmother heads to circuit court.

A grand jury indicted James Abner, Jessica Schneider, and Sherry King on abuse charges.

Attorney's say a three year old boy they were caring for was malnourished and spent 20 days in critical condition at UK Children's Hospital.

The trio pleaded not guilty.

A pre-trial conference is set for September 5th.

Update 7-3-14

A Knox County district judge calls child abuse charges against a mother, father, and grandmother "heinous."

James M. Abner, 31, Jessica Schneider, 32, and Sherry King, 54, are accused of starving a young child nearly to death.

They are charged with criminal abuse.

Thursday, the three appeared in court for a scheduled preliminary hearing.

Defense attorneys for all three waived the preliminary hearing but requested a hearing to get a lower bond. The judge wanted to hear the abuse case details during the bond hearing.

The Knox County Attorney said the three starved a three year old boy nearly to death in January.

"The allegations here are very heinous," said the judge.

The boy was so malnourished, he spent 20 days in critical condition at UK Children's Hospital.

"When we removed the child, he couldn't walk, now the child can run," said Gilbert Holland, Knox County Attorney.

Schneider's attorney argued the boy was born premature, weighing one and a half pounds at birth, which caused him ongoing health problems.

"We found no doctor that could give us any medical reason for this. Since we have removed the child, the child has thrived," said Holland.

Holland told the judge they did not file the charges until June because they spent time seeking medical opinions as to whether there was a condition to cause the boy to be malnourished. He said they filed charged when doctors said there was no medical reason.

No possible motive for the alleged starvation was mentioned during the hearing.

The county attorney did tell the judge there were at least four other children in the home who appeared to have no problems.

None of the defense attorneys commented on the case after the hearing.

The judge denied a lower bond. It remains at ten thousand dollars cash.

"The acts that are in the alleged complaint that are such a degree which would cause the court to believe there is a danger that exists," said the judge.

The judge said in court the bond was the highest he could give for the charges because the defendants do not have a criminal history and are not considered a flight risk.

The case now goes to the grand jury.

Investigators say the boy is now four years old. He and the other children in the home are in custody of other relatives.


Investigators call it one of the worst child abuse cases they have seen.

A mother, father, and grandmother are in jail in Knox County, accused of starving a young child nearly to death!

James M. Abner, 31, Jessica Schneider, 32, and Sherry King, 54, are all charged with criminal abuse.

Knox County Sheriff's Deputies say a three year old child nearly starved death earlier this year.

"What I've been informed from doctors here and at UK, it's probably one of the worst cases they have seen as far as malnourishment," said Deputy Chad Wagner, Knox County Sheriff's Department.

Wagner says on January 28th, an anonymous caller reported the child in bad condition at a home on Adair Lane. Social Services took the boy to the Knox County Hospital emergency room. Court records say he was so malnourished, he was flown to UK Children's Hospital in Lexington where he spent 20 days in critical condition in the NICU.

"The child was completely helpless and you know, if things hadn't been done, there would have definitely been a different outcome," said Wagner.

After investigating for several months, on Wednesday, Wagner arrested the child's parents, James Abner and Jessica Schneider and grandmother Sherry King. King is Schneider's mother. Wagner says all three lived in the home with the boy.

All three suspects pleaded not guilty to the criminal abuse charge. They all turned down WYMT's request for a jailhouse interview to tell their side.

Wagner says it is unclear as to why the child was not fed and says the investigation is far from over.

"There is some other things being investigated as far as his health and other abuse that may have occurred inside the residence," said Wagner.

He says the child is out of the hospital and now in a safe place with proper care. The boy is now four years old.

Bond for Abner, Schneider, and King is $10,000 cash.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 3rd.

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