Medical Examiner Determined Boy Died of Battered Child Syndrome; Child Suffered from Starvation and Head Trauma
Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a Bronx woman and her boyfriend have been indicted on Murder and Manslaughter charges in the June 2021 death of the woman’s eight-year-old autistic son.
District Attorney Clark said, “These defendants allegedly starved and beat an eight-yearold autistic child. The boy was severely malnourished and had marks and scars all over his body. The defendants allegedly did not seek medical attention for the boy. They have now been charged with Murder and Manslaughter. We will seek justice for the little boy, whose life was cut short so tragically.”
District Attorney Clark said the defendants, Sharay Barney, 30, and Michael Ransom, 33, both of 580 East 166 Street, were arraigned today on second-degree Murder and second-degree Manslaughter before Bronx Supreme Court Justice George Villegas. The defendants were remanded and are due back in court on August 17, 2022.
According to the investigation, Barney, who was the biological mother of the child, and Ransom, who was the stepfather, were the sole caretakers of Joseph Barney, 8, who was autistic and non-verbal. On June 1, 2021, the child was found unresponsive in their home. The defendants took the child to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The defendants allegedly admitted that they did not get him medical attention when they knew the boy was not eating and was having difficulty breathing for approximately 24 hours before his death.
According to the investigation, the child’s body was covered in fresh and healing wounds, which were consistent with blunt force trauma, and ligature marks to the wrists, which suggested he was restrained. Additional injuries also indicated child abuse. At death, Joseph weighed 40 pounds and was four feet, two inches tall, less than the weight an eight-year-old child should be, according to medical examiners.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the boy died of Battered Child Syndrome, specifically starvation and head trauma. The defendants were arrested on March 21, 2022.
District Attorney Clark also thanked NYPD Detectives James McBrown of the 47th Precinct and Brianna Constantino of Bronx Homicide for their assistance in the investigation.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.