Parents arrested in death of one-month-old infant in Hernando County

Parents arrested in death of one-month-old infant in Hernando County
Posted at 3:52 PM, Oct 26, 2017

The parents of a 1-month-old in Hernando County were arrested after the baby died in what was ruled a homicide.

On June 4 at 11:45 a.m., Hernando County Sheriff's Office responded to 6455 Treehaven Dr. in Spring Hill in response to an infant who was not conscious or breathing.

RELATED: Hernando County father arrested in death of 2-month-old son

Deputies saw that the infant had bruising on the right side of his face, by his eye, and both eyes had blood in the white portion of them. 

He was immediately transported to Bayfront Health Spring Hill. The infant received care and was then transported to All Children's Hospital in Tampa. Physicians reported blood on the baby's brain and a considerable amount of brain swelling. The infant was described as being in grave condition.

The parents, Jesse James Abney and Justine Lynn Vansant, were interviewed and claimed they went out for food earlier that evening with the baby. When they got home, they say they put him in his crib and went to take a shower together.

They said after the shower they tried to feed the infant, but noticed he was limp and not breathing.

Vansant's uncle also lives in the home, and said they did enter the shower together, but Abney got out before Vansant. Abney reportedly made a bottle for the infant and went back into the bedroom. A short time later, Vansant got out of the shower and went into the bedroom and started screaming that the baby wasn't breathing.

Deputies searched the bedroom and found "a green leafy substance on the nightstand and sprinkled all over Vansant and Abney's bed." Several pills, empty baggies, a glass pipe and rolling papers were found in a drawer of the nightstand. The leafy substance tested positive for the presence of THC.

The baby died a few days later, and the autopsy report revealed blunt force head trauma and several rib fractures. Due to these extensive injuries, the death was ruled a homicide.

During the investigation, deputies obtained evidence showing Jesse Abney was responsible for the baby's death.

Both Abney and Vansant were arrested Thursday morning.

Abney was charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child, while Vansant was charged with child neglect.