Open in App
  • Local
  • U.S.
  • Election
  • Politics
  • Crime
  • Sports
  • Lifestyle
  • Education
  • Real Estate
  • Newsletter
  • WOWK 13 News

    Advocates connecting the dots between 14-year-old’s death and ‘Raylee’s law’ to prevent child neglect cases

    By Jordan Mead,


    BOONE COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Child advocates and community members continue to mourn the loss of a 14-year-old girl from Morrisvale who died Wednesday due to what deputies called an alleged child neglect situation.

    As a result, many are also seeking legal changes and action to be taken to prevent a situation like this from happening again.

    The girl, only identified by her initials “KM,” had an undiagnosed eating disorder, according to the criminal complaint. She had also been homeschooled for the last four years.

    Advocates are connecting the dots between KM’s case and another one that hits home for many: Raylee Browning’s story. Browning was 8 years old when she died in 2018 in Fayette County after her dad, her dad’s girlfriend, and the girlfriend’s sister took Browning out of public school when teachers suspected abuse. They continued to inhumanely abuse her until she became septic and died, according to court records.


    Thanks for signing up!

    Watch for us in your inbox.

    Breaking News

    Browning’s story inspired “Raylee’s Law” to try and prevent tragic deaths like hers from happening again. “Raylee’s Law” or HB 5180 had bipartisan support from the House during this year’s legislative session, though it did not pass in the Senate.

    “Unfortunately when we see things like this happen, we are reminded why we need Raylee’s law, and this current path that we’re seeing of this tragic, horrific situation, it’s eerily similar to what happened to Raylee,” Del. Shawn Fluharty (D-Ohio) said.

    Fluharty sponsored Raylee’s Law. Though the bill failed during this year’s legislative session, Fluharty said he wants it to be readdressed during the special session in May.

    “Unfortunately, there were warning signs that were reported, but our system, which allows for an abuser to take a child out of a public school and put them in a homeschool situation without any real monitoring even when there is a pending investigation taking place, as was happening with Raylee’s situation,” Fluharty said. “We’re not clear if that’s happening here, but that’s a clear loophole in the law that needs fixed, and until legislators take this seriously, we’re going to see more stories like this occur without any action.”

    KM was found dead on the bathroom floor of the 400 block of Cameo Road, and she was emaciated to the point that her body appeared “skeletal” to first responders. Sheriff Chad Barket told 13 News on Thursday that there was no record of her mother, Julie Anne Stone Miller, taking KM to receive medical treatment in the months leading up to her death, even though the criminal complaint outlines that KM had been deteriorating for months and had not left the house in four years. Miller was arrested for child neglect resulting in death.

    “It is so incredibly important for us as communities, as a society, to protect these kids, to figure out all the ways that we can through policy, through community-based interventions, through supporting neighbors and checking in on people to have the resources to support these kids,” Kate Flack, the CEO of West Virginia Child Advocacy Network, said following KM’s death.

    Flack said the news of KM’s death was shocking and shows the need for more people to speak up, especially when they suspect something is off involving child safety.

    “It’s really easy for people to think they don’t want to get involved, it’s not their business, but our National Children’s Alliance started a campaign called ‘It’s your business,’” Flack said. “It’s everyone’s business to get involved when they think a kid is being abused or neglected to a point where they could be dying.”

    Fluharty said, “There are lobbyists who believe Raylee’s law is not necessary because they think it infringes on the rights of homeschoolers, which is complete farce. That’s not the case at all. If you’re already homeschooling, it wouldn’t even apply. This applies to situations where abusers are taking children out of the public school system to continue their abuse.”

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WOWK 13 News.

    Expand All
    Comments / 0
    Add a Comment
    Most Popular newsMost Popular

    Comments / 0