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Local foster mother charged with abuse


By Tom Marshall
Senior Advocate writer

A 10-month-old child is being treated at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for extensive burns allegedly inflicted by a Mt. Sterling foster mother pouring hot chocolate on the child’s head.

The incident allegedly occurred Saturday afternoon at the McDonald’s restaurant in Shoppers Village Plaza in Winchester, Capt. James Hall of the Winchester Police Dept. told the Advocate.

Hall said the call initially came in of an injured child with reported burns to its face and head.

The child was taken to the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center before being transported on to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, he said.

As Winchester Police investigated further they reviewed video taken from a camera at the restaurant, which allegedly clearly shows the foster mother, Ashley Neal, 33, of Mt. Sterling, intentionally pouring the hot chocolate on the child, Hall said.

“From looking at the video the incident with the hot chocolate occurs and she then falls down,” he said. “It’s not like she is tripping and falling and pours the hot chocolate on the child.”

Police took a temperature reading from the same batch of hot chocolate in which the cup came and it reportedly measured about 150 degrees, Hall said.

The video also reportedly shows Neal falling after the burns were inflicted, but it allegedly appears she fell under her own power, Hall said. Neal was transported but no injuries were reportedly found, he added.
Neal, who had two other foster children with her, Hall said, reportedly claimed she couldn’t remember anything that happened beginning that morning when she left her home on Southdale Drive off Levee Road in Mt. Sterling to go shopping.

There were reportedly no indications at the hospital that Neal was under the influence, he said.

Neal is charged with first-degree criminal abuse. She was booked into the Clark County Detention Center and later released.
Neal reportedly has the two other foster children, two biological children and her husband has a child.

The foster children were all placed with other foster parents and the other children are now under the care of others, he said.