I couldn’t be happier to be bringing you this update.
At long last, a trial date has been set for the accused killers of 8-year-old Raylee Browning: her father, Marty Browning Jr.; his wife, Julie Titchenell Browning; and Julie’s sister, Sherie Titchenell.
Marty, Julie, and Sherie were arrested in December of 2019 and indicted in June of 2020 on charges of death by a parent, guardian, or custodian and child neglect resulting in death. The three are accused of causing Raylee’s death on December 26, 2018 by a prolonged campaign of torture and abuse, including withholding food, water, schooling, and medical care, as well as physical and mental abuse.
Raylee died at Plateau Medical Center from a severe septic infection and other complications caused by pneumonia that had been left untreated. She was covered in abrasions and bruises, and her rectum was torn, according to the medical examiner’s office.
As in many of the stories I cover, CPS was supposedly monitoring Raylee at the time of her death. Another common thread running through multiple stories, including Raylee’s, is that the little girl was pulled out of school prior to her death under the guise of “homeschooling,” although it is believed this was done merely to hide the signs of abuse that teachers and school staff had noticed. Reportedly, Raylee received no schooling at home.
Shortly after her removal from school, the family, which included the three adults, Raylee, and Julie’s three children moved into a tiny house at 468 Park Street in Oak Hill, West Virginia, which is where Raylee became deathly ill on Christmas Day of 2018.
The trial for the three defendants is scheduled to begin on March 10, 2021 before Fayette County Circuit Court Judge Paul Blake.
Raleigh County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brian Parsons has been appointed as a special prosecutor in the case due to a possible conflict of interest. Fayette County Prosecutor Anthony Ciliberti’s wife, who is a witness in the case, taught Raylee when she attended Nicholas County Elementary School.
Justice has been delayed for Raylee for over two years, according to Oak Hill Police Chief Mike Whisman, because the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) refused to provide Raylee’s records to police. In November of 2019, DHHR finally turned over a portion of Raylee’s file to Corporal James Pack.
Cpl. Pack took the records to a child abuse expert in Charleston, who opined that Raylee may have been a victim of medical child abuse, meaning she may have been made ill by a caregiver and treated unnecessarily by misled doctors. Raylee was reportedly on multiple psychiatric medications for conditions such as autism and other behavioral disorders; her biological mother, Janice Wriston, has said that Raylee was well-behaved and did not exhibit signs of autism.
Janice had been alienated from Raylee by Marty and his family moving frequently and failing to provide the court with updated addresses.
Marty and Julie married after Raylee’s death. Just speculating, but that may have been a ploy to claim spousal privilege, wherein they would not be forced to testify against each other.
In September, Janice, represented by Fayetteville attorney Anthony Salvatore, filed a federal civil lawsuit against DHHR, alleging that CPS caseworkers failed to perform a mandatory study on the Browning-Titchenell home, as well as failing to investigate reports by Raylee’s teachers, among others, alleging that Raylee was being abused. As a result, the lawsuit states, Raylee’s Eighth Amendment rights were violated by the cruel and unusual punishment she suffered in her own home.
Excerpts from the lawsuit state:
“Her body had multiple abrasions and bruising as a result of assault/molestation.”
“The defendants willfully ignored reports of potential child abuse and/or neglect of R.B. within the home, breached their statutory and regulatory protocols, policies and procedures to ensure the safety and welfare of R.B. and to protect her from harm…”
“The defendants willfully and recklessly falsified records to hide the abuse of R.B.” The suit alleges that WVDHHR “altered records to conceal the failure to properly care for” Raylee and that CPS altered and deleted Raylee’s records to “correct their gross, reckless conduct.”
“The defendants failed to take action to ensure that there was an adequate safety plan for R.B. in the home of Marty Browning and Julie Titchenell, failed to ensure that Marty Browning and Julie Titchenell were capable and competent to house children and to ensure the safety of all children, failed to ensure that the home was up to code and in compliance with WVDHHR policies and standards with respect to heating systems, electrical wiring and other potential causes of fire in the home.”
I hope with all my heart that Janice wins the lawsuit, and even more so, I hope Marty Browning, Julie Titchenell-Browning, and Sherie Titchenell are swiftly convicted on their charges and sentenced to the maximum possible punishment on their charges, because Janice and her family — and especially Raylee — deserve justice.
Click here for my ongoing coverage of Raylee’s story. Click here to listen to my Suffer the Little Children Podcast episode about Raylee, and click here for my recent update episode, in which I also addressed Raylee’s case.
Sources: The Register-Herald, The Fayette Tribune