Manslaughter charges brought against juvenile

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 21, 2004

WINDSOR – In late breaking news Monday afternoon, Bertie County Sheriff Greg Atkins stated charges have been filed against a juvenile in the September 2 drowning death of a three-year old near Hexlena.

Atkins said no details could be given due to the fact a juvenile was involved, but did say the juvenile was facing involuntary manslaughter charges.

The three-year, Malik McKinley Beverly, went missing around 7:30 on the evening of September 2 and after about an hour of searching the Saunders Mobile Trailer Park where the child was being kept by a babysitter, local law enforcement and rescue personnel were called in to help.

The child’s lifeless body was found floating in a septic tank in a neighboring yard around 9 p.m.

The tank did not have a top, but a piece of plywood had been placed over the opening and had to be removed to find the baby.

Atkins said, from the beginning of the investigation, it was obvious someone had covered the opening after the baby fell in, but would not speculate as to if the hole had been covered by someone who knew the baby was inside or not.

It was also not known if the baby fell into the hole or if he was in some way assisted. That information remains a mystery at this point – at least in the public eye.

The challenge for Atkins and others investigating the incident was the fact all &uot;potential&uot; witnesses were children.

&uot;This is going to be a tough case,&uot; Atkins stated as he began working the investigation September 3. It proved to be all he imagined as he declined to comment about any information that was turning up day after day surrounding the case.

Even today, as Atkins prepared to release a fax to local television and newspapers, he stated, &uot;All I can say is as a result of the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office investigation surrounding the Sept. 2 drowning death of three-year-old Malik McKinley Beverly, a charge of involuntary manslaughter was drawn today (Sept. 20) against a juvenile whose identity, by law, cannot be disclosed.&uot;

Atkins refused any questions regarding the case, referring back to his single statement.

The deceased was the son of LaToya Harrell who resides between Hexlena and Ahoskie.