3 adults plead guilty to child abuse in Jackson cluttered house case

Photo: City of Jackson

JACKSON, Mch (WLNS) – Three out of the five adults charged in connection with the burning of a 4-year-old boy found living with them in a now condemned home in March took plea deals confessing to their crimes.

According to our media partners at MLive, the child’s father, Oren Ryan, and biological mother, Ashlee VanNess, pleaded guilty at their pretrial hearing in Circuit Judge Susan Jordan’s courtroom last week, according to court records.

The child’s stepmother, Christina Ryan, pleaded guilty at her pretrial hearing Sept. 1, according to court records.

Oren Ryan, 31, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree child abuse and one count of lying to a peace officer.

Christina Ryan, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree child abuse and one count of failing to report abuse. An additional count of second-degree child abuse was dropped as was one count of lying to a peace officer.

VanNess, 26, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree child abuse. An additional count of second-degree child abuse was dropped as was one count of lying to a peace officer.

The 4-year-old boy, who was living in the house in the 400 block of Adams Street with five other children and the five adults, was burned March 2 when a butane torch lighter ignited his shirt, burning his hands, upper chest, upper arms and face, police said.

Investigators say that instead of taking the injured child for medical treatments the adults went to a store and bought a stuffed animal for the boy.

More from MLive: Parents of child severely burned in deplorable home plead guilty to child abuse

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