MOUNT VERNON, Mo. — A 26-year-old Aurora man waived a preliminary hearing Thursday on charges of child neglect and violating the state's sex offender registration and residency laws.
Bryan M. Berg waived the hearing in Lawrence County Circuit Court and was ordered bound over for trial on three felony counts by Associate Judge Robert George. The judge set the defendant's initial appearance in a trial division of the court for Jan. 13.
Berg and Sheyanne Crossland, 21, came to the attention of child welfare investigators in May 2018 when their 1-year-old son was admitted to a hospital for failure to thrive and an untreated illness, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed in the case. The boy, who was born weighing 7 pounds and 4 ounces, checked in at just 11 pounds a year later, according to the affidavit.
Hospital staff reported the matter to the state's child abuse hotline when it became apparent that neither of the child's parents seemed to know how to feed and care for their baby. The affidavit states that nurses and doctors showed them several times how to prepare a bottle for the boy, but they did not seem to understand the need.
During the course of the hospital stay, nurses would have to wake them up and tell them to feed the baby or change its diapers. The mother told the nurses that she was "a heavy sleeper" and would complain when awakened that she "needed her sleep," according to the affidavit.
The baby had been diagnosed with torticollis — a congenital muscular condition of the neck — for which he was supposed to have been receiving treatment. But his parents had failed to have him treated for the condition, according to the affidavit.
Aurora-Marionville police allegedly discovered during the investigation of the hotline call that Bryan Berg was a convicted sex offender who had failed to register his address with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department and was residing within 1,000 feet of an elementary school in violation of another provision of state law.
Court records indicate that the child was removed from the care and custody of the couple at the time that charges were filed in 2018. The mother has not yet had a preliminary hearing. She has a disposition hearing set Jan. 23.