UPDATE: Man Charged in Baby's Death Doesn't Appear for Arraignment

By: News Email
By: News Email
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UPDATE 9/19/2014 4:20 PM

Not in court, still at large.

Curtis Richards' arraignment goes on without him.

Richards has been missing since he was officially charged with the death of his girlfriend's daughter last month.

His arraignment was scheduled for Friday morning.

No action was taken, other than Richards' warrant was continued.

A reward was issued last month for information leading to his capture.

If you have any information leading to his arrest, contact the Parkersburg Police Department.

UPDATE 9/15/2014 5:15 PM

Curtis Richards, II is due in court Friday.

Lots of questions about whether he will actually show up.

Three days after police and the Wood County prosecutor offered a reward for his capture, the accused killer of a 1-year old child remains on the run.

Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin says calls have come in since the reward was first offered Friday.

Many of them, however, are from people wanting to contribute money for the reward, now set at $2,000.

Richards was indicted last week on four counts related to the death of Ariella Merinar, his girlfriend's daughter.

His arraignment is scheduled Friday morning before circuit judge Jeff Reed.

UPDATE 9/12/2014 4:40 PM

The man accused of killing a 1-year-old baby could be anywhere, including out of the country.

Right now, police are increasing the incentives for people who help find Curtis Richards.

The police department is now offering a reward for information leading to Richards' capture.

It's $2,000 but could go higher if pledged donations come in.

Richards was indicted Thursday on four counts, including murder of a child by a guardian and death of a child by a guardian.

The police chief says, considering he's been gone six weeks, the search for Richards is broadening.

"We are definitely expanding our search out of Wood County. But I believe and the prosecutor believes this monetary reward would encourage that someone who knows, and normally wouldn't call wouldn't want to give that information to do so," says Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin.

Chief Martin says police have had numerous tips about Richards' whereabouts, many of them with the same or similar information.

Both the chief and Prosecutor Jason Wharton believe a reward would encourage people who know Richards' location to provide law enforcement with that information.

The money is being provided with funds from the police department's drug money seizure program, and from the Wood County Prosecutor's Office budget.

The number for the police department, for anyone with information about Richards, is 304-424-8444.

UPDATE 9/12/2014 11:10 AM

Authorities announce they're offering a reward in the case of a murdered 1-year-old girl.

Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin says $2,000 is being offered for information leading to the whereabouts of Curtis Richards.

Richards is accused of murdering 1-year-old Ariella Mariner back in August.

Authorities have not been able to find him.

Half of the reward is money the police department has confiscated in drug cases.

The other half comes from the Wood County Prosecutor's Office.

UPDATE 9/11/2014 2:00 PM

A Wood County grand jury returned indictments Thursday morning, including one for a wanted murder suspect.

The grand jury returned 48 indictments Thursday morning, one of them being Curtis Richards.

Richards is accused of murdering 1-year-old Ariella Mariner back in August.

His charges include murder of a child, death of a child, grand larceny and petit larceny.

County prosecutor Jason Wharton asked that Richards be given no bond.

Investigators are still working day and night to locate Richards after he fled the area.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Richards you are asked to contact the Parkersburg Police.

UPDATE 9/5/2014 4:40 PM

It's been one month and the man accused in the death of a 1-year old baby girl remains on the run.

Police admit they are surprised Curtis Richards has not been located one month after the death of his girlfriend's 1-year-old daughter.

People who live in the area where that incident happened told us last month they last saw Richards the day after the child's death.

Parkersburg Police have been checking out leads for the past month, but say there have been no confirmed sightings of Richards.

"There have been some misidentifications from passers-by who thought they saw this individual, but it was someone completely different. Beyond that, we've not received anything fruitful," says Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin.

There have been sightings of Joseph Marcum, accused in the stabbing last week of Joseph Sams.

But Marcum also remains at-large.

He is also described as 5'9", weighing 157 pounds and he has numerous tattoos.

If you have any information about either of these suspects, you are asked to contact the Parkersburg Police Department.

UPDATE 8/27/2014 5:25 PM

Three weeks after the death of a 1-year-old girl, Parkersburg Police are continuing their search for her killer.

Police say the St. Marys man wanted could be in Beckley, St. Marys or Huntington.

Parkersburg Police say Curtis Dean Richards, Jr. has associates in all those cities.

He was last seen on August 5 getting money from an ATM at the Speedway on Pike Street in Parkersburg.

Police say they've received several tips, some from as far away as North Carolina.

But none of them have led them to Richards.

He was last seen driving a 1994 black Toyota single cab truck with West Virginia registration 4XA886.

Police say there is a lot of primer on it.

Richards is accused of killing 1-year-old Ariella Noel Merinar on August 5.

If you have information, call Detective K.M. Day or Detective L.R. Board at the Parkersburg Police Dept. (304-424-8440 / 304-424-8444).

UPDATE 8/19/2014 4:30 PM

Tuesday marks two weeks after the murder of a baby girl, and the family appears to be far from any kind of closure.

The search intensifies for a St. Marys man police believed to have killed the 1-year-old, Ariella Mariner.

Parkersburg Police say two detectives are working day and night on the murder case of Curtis Richards.

Police say they're getting plenty of tips on where he may be.

One Tuesday lead them to St. Albans, but still no luck finding him.

"We probably get 5-10 tips a day of people driving by in the area, 'this is the guy who you're looking for.' And we get there and of course it's not him. We appreciate people trying to help us," says Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin.

Richards was babysitting Ariella Merinar at the Saint Paul Terrace Apartments, where police say he beat the baby to death.

The 30-year-old has been wanted since Thursday, August 7.

If you have any information on where Richards may be, call your local law enforcement agency.

UPDATE 8/9/2014 6:00 PM

We're getting another look at who investigators say killed a one-year-old baby girl.

30-year-old Curtis Dean Richards, Jr. of St. Marys has been wanted for murder by Parkersburg Police since Thursday.

Police are hoping these newly released photographs will help the public identify him.

Richards has multiple tattoos on his arms and hands.

Search efforts continued Saturday. The US Marshals Service is now assisting local authorities.

"We have received since Wednesday, information that has been coming in at a consistent rate. We have received information that indicates that he may be trying to get out of West Virginia. So it's been keeping our investigators fairly busy and we appreciate the feedback from the community," said Chief Joe Martin.

If you have any information where Richards may be, call your local law enforcement agency.

UPDATE 8/8/2014 4:50 PM

Wood and Pleasants County authorities still need your help.

They're looking for a St. Marys man they say killed a 1-year-old baby girl.

At last report from Parkersburg Police, investigators still haven't found 30-year-old Curtis Richards.

He's accused of killing his girlfriend's 1-year-old daughter, Ariella Noel Merinar.

It happened Tuesday morning at the St. Paul Terrace Apartments off of Emerson Avenue.

Neighbors tell us they last saw Richards the next day.

Police say an autopsy Thursday shows the baby suffered severe head and neck injuries.

Richards said little Ariella was choked to death by her 2-year-old sister.

"There's no way that her sister could have done the damage that the injuries showed," says Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin.

If you know where Richards is, call your local law enforcement agency.

UPDATE 8/7/2014 3:10 PM

Parkersburg Police issue an arrest warrant for a man they say is responsible for the death of 1-year-old Ariella Noel Merinar.

Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin says they are searching for 30-year-old Curtis Dean Richards, Jr., of St. Marys.

He says Richards may be driving a black Toyota truck with WV registration 4XA 886.

Authorities responded Tuesday to the St. Paul Terrace Apartments on Central Avenue, finding 1-year-old Ariella Noel Merinar unresponsive.

They say efforts to revive the baby were unsuccessful.

Police say Richards was babysitting Merinar and her 2-year old sister.

They say the mother of the children was at work.

According to police, Richards told them the 2-year-old choked the 1-year-old until she stopped breathing.

Chief Martin says the incident was a homicide, not an accident.

He says the autopsy completed Thursday shows that the 1-year-old had severe head injuries and injuries to her neck.

A murder warrant was issued for Richards and anyone with information on his whereabouts should call authorities.

UPDATE 8/6/2014 4:45 PM

The investigation moves forward.

Parkersburg Police were expecting to join the medical examiner's office Wednesday morning for the autopsy on a 1-year-old girl who died Tuesday.

Unfortunately for Parkersburg Police, a scheduling conflict with the medical examiner's office postponed Wednesday morning's autopsy.

Investigators say it will now happen Thursday.

The baby girl died Tuesday.

She was pronounced dead at Camden Clark Medical Center.

It happened around 11 in the morning at the St. Paul Terrace Apartments off of Emerson Avenue.

Investigators say the 1-year-old was home with her mother's boyfriend and 2-year-old sister.

Emergency responders performed CPR for more than an hour but it wasn't enough.

Police say there's no evidence the child died of natural causes.

"To my belief or knowledge today I don't know that there was anything medically wrong with the child that would cause or influence the death that we saw yesterday," says Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin.

Chief Martin also commented on learning more about the people involved in this case.

He says police are working to conduct more interviews and gather more information.

UPDATE 8/6/2014 12:20 PM

The autopsy for a 1-year-old girl who died in Parkersburg Tuesday is pushed back to Thursday.

More details throughout the day Wednesday as they become available.

UPDATE 8/6/2014 11:00 AM

It's every parents worst nightmare.

The call came in just after 11:00 Tuesday morning to an apartment just off of Emerson Avenue at St. Paul Terrace.

She'd just turned one.

Police Chief Joe Martin says the baby was home with her mother's boyfriend and 2-year-old sister.

The mother was not home at the time.

Martin says she unresponsive and received CPR for over an hour.

She was pronounced dead at Camden Clark Medical Center.

Police are keeping a pretty tight lip right now, saying there's a lot of investigating left to do.

But they don't believe it's a natural death.

"Essentially we're still trying to gather information. We secured the scene, got a search warrant, went inside the apartment, looked around, took a few items today. We'll analyze that at the lab and see if there's anything in addition to what we know that would help us actually determine the truth and find the truth to how this child died," says Chief Martin.

Martin says he'll know a lot more after the autopsy.

That's scheduled for Wednesday morning

Martin expects foul play but no one is in custody at this time.

A 1-year-old child is found dead and now the Parkersburg Police Department is investigating.

Police say the 1-year-old girl was with her mother's boyfriend and 2-year-old sister.

Police aren't releasing many details at this point, saying they are waiting for autopsy results.

But they say foul play is suspected.

We'll bring you more information as it's released.

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