Two women arrested in death of Newberry boy


The home of Javarian Wallace, 5, in Newberry. His mom, Valerie Sharonne Owens, 26, and another relative, Alice J. Owens, were charged with murder in the boy's death.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 12:23 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 12:23 p.m.

The mother and an aunt of Javarian Wallace, a 5-year-old Newberry boy who died last month, have been charged with his murder.

According to Alachua County Sheriff's Office records, Javarian was pronounced dead Dec. 27 at North Florida Regional Medical Center, an hour after his mother called 911 from the family's home at 616 NW 255th Drive to report that he was not breathing.

On Dec. 28, Chief Medical Examiner William F. Hamilton determined the provisional cause of Javarian's death was "multiple, acute, inflicted, blunt traumatic injuries." Specifically, Hamilton found many injuries on the boy's head, torso and extremities.

Javarian's mother, Valerie Sharonne Owens, 26, and his aunt, Alice J. Owens, 55, were arrested Wednesday morning, and each was charged with murder and child neglect. The women were booked into the Alachua County jail.

Investigators said that when the women were questioned about the injuries found on Javarian's body, Valerie told them the child was always falling down, including having tripped over tree roots in the front yard of the family's home.

Javarian had behavioral issues and was communicating at about the level of a 2-year-old, according to the Sheriff's Office. Alachua County Public Schools spokeswoman Jackie Johnson has said no student named Javarian Wallace had been registered with the district.

Investigators established a timeline of events on the day of Javarian's death that showed the two women were Javarian's only caregivers on the day he died.

The timeline also showed a 15-minute gap between the time that Valerie Owens said she found Javarian — unresponsive, not breathing and cool to the touch on the living room couch — and when she called 911. Owens later explained the delay by telling officials she had been confused by the situation.

Valerie Owens called 911 at 7:45 p.m., and the first ambulance crew reached the scene seven minutes later, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Officials noted that during the 13-minute ride to the hospital, Owens asked no questions about her son's condition as she rode in the front passenger seat of the ambulance.

At 8:46 p.m., Javarian was pronounced dead.

Valerie Owens told investigators that on the day Javarian died, he did not eat anything and appeared to be lethargic, just lying around the house.

Sheriff's spokesman Art Forgey said a 2-year-old child was removed from the home the night Javarian died. That girl remains under the supervision of the state Department of Children and Families.

Investigators also noted that Valerie Owens is now pregnant with another child and has told investigators she is expecting twins.

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