PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – We’re learning more about the West Virginia woman accused of attempting to smother her infant son more than a dozen times.

Now, her neighbors are speaking out about the woman at the center of the investigation.

As the 4-month-old remains in the Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital, we’re now hearing from the sheriff in Boone County West Virginia as they start to look into suspicions of early attempted smothering at the family’s home.

It was at a home in southern West Virginia where Pittsburgh Police believe the abuse started, possibly back in August.

Two months later, police said doctors are unsure what the long-term effects will be for the little boy.

“If we think that a 4-month-old has been a victim of something like this, we’re going to pursue very aggressively what we need to do,” Boone Co. Sheriff Rodney Miller said.

Miller is investigating allegations that the mother, 22-year-old Rachel Nelson, was behind the smothering.

Police said medical records show the baby was brought to hospitals in Charleston, W. Va. at least six times in respiratory distress and there are suspicions that there are more instances that happened in the home as well.

“There’s nothing to indicate that she’s been on our radar screen for child abuse or anything like that in the past,” Miller said.

In mid-October, the infant was brought to Children’s Hospital because of the reoccurring respiratory failure. Police said while at the hospital, Nelson tried to smother her son twice.

She was taken to Western Psych for an evaluation, while charges have been filed against her in Pittsburgh.

As the investigation continues in both states, Pittsburgh Police said both Allegheny County CYF and Child Protective Services in West Virginia are now involved and have custody of the child.


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