A local couple charged earlier this year with felony child abuse in a case involving a severely burned 3-year-old boy has been found guilty and sentenced.

Richardsville resident Karen L. Reed, the child’s mother, and her fiancé Daniel Gass, 23, of Fredericksburg pleaded guilty earlier this year to the crime discovered on January 24. That’s when a Culpeper County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to a camper in a Lignum area of Culpeper County to check on the welfare of a young child living there with the two adults, according to a CCSO news release at the time.

The toddler was found with bandaged hands and a large lump on his forehead. He was subsequently airlifted to a Richmond burn center where more extensive injuries were uncovered.

Culpeper County Circuit Court Judge Susan Whitlock on Monday sentenced Reed to 10 years in jail with five years suspended. Gass was sentenced to 10 years in jail with three years and nine months suspended. Both sentences were above the guidelines, according to a news release from Mark Nowacki, director of the Culpeper Victim/Witness Program.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Maggie Cleary argued that the heinous and callous nature of the crime demanded an upward variance from the sentencing guidelines. The court reviewed photographs of the victim and heard testimony from the toddler’s foster father and hospital and social services officials, according to the release.

Both defendants are facing additional related charges in Stafford County.

“Child abuse will not be tolerated in our community,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Walther said in a statement. “I am proud of the hard work of the sheriff’s office, department of social services and my office have done to ensure that justice was served today.”

According to the foster parents, the little boy is making very good progress, but has a long ways to go with healing, both physically and emotionally, Nowacki said: "He is a bright and happy little boy now."

Get the latest news in our Headlines newsletter in your inbox each day with the top stories.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.