Police: Woman charged after throwing child into Ohio River

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 1, 2021

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — A woman was charged with kidnapping after authorities in West Virginia said she took a 5-year-old boy from his family and threw him into the Ohio River.

The child was rescued from the river and did not suffer injuries after he was taken from his family at Harris Riverfront Park in Huntington, authorities said.

Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle said Kimberly Dawn Maxwell, 41, sat down with the family while they were eating dinner at the park.

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“They didn’t know who she was,” Zerkle said. “She acted like the child was hers. She took the child and threw him into the river. She (went to) the river and got in herself.”

The child, who has autism and is nonverbal, was removed from the river by bystanders, authorities said.

The Huntington Fire Department launched a boat to retrieve the woman, who was in the water for about 37 minutes before she was removed, Zerkle said.

Maxwell was booked in jail at 2 a.m. Saturday on charges of kidnapping, malicious assault and child neglect creating the risk of death or injury.

It was not immediately known if she had a lawyer who could speak about the charges on her behalf.