Judge denies bond to man charged with child neglect

Bryan Reyes Rivera

WOODSTOCK – A judge on Friday denied bond to a man accused of neglecting and endangering an infant who died earlier this year.

Bryan Jared Reyes-Rivera appeared in Shenandoah County Circuit Court with his attorney, Michael Araj, who filed a motion seeking his client’s release on bond. A grand jury indicted Reyes-Rivera, 26, of Dumfries, Virginia, in March on single counts of child endangerment and abuse and neglect of a child resulting in serious injuries. The indictments charge the defendant with committing the crimes on either Jan. 20 or 21, 2017. Authorities have said the victim was the defendant’s child.

Hupp denied Araj’s motion after a pastor and family friend of the defendant who lives in the Northern Virginia area testified that he would help Reyes-Rivera find a place to live. The defendant had been living in an apartment in Woodstock when the alleged incident occurred. Araj indicated that his client’s lease has likely expired since Reyes-Rivera’s arrest.

Pastor Charles Ramos testified on behalf of the defense that he had been in contact with Reyes-Rivera’s mother who lives in Puerto Rico. Ramos told the judge that if the court granted the defendant’s release on bond, he would put Reyes-Rivera in a hotel while securing more permanent housing.

In arguing against Reyes-Rivera’s release on bond, Shenandoah County Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley told Hupp that the 10-month-old child in the defendant’s care died after the alleged offenses took place. Few details of the case have been released. Reyes-Rivera has not been charged specifically in the death of the child.

Wiseley told Hupp that the commonwealth’s evidence shows that the defendant’s child died Jan. 21. The mother came home from work to find the child unresponsive. Reyes-Rivera said he had just checked on the child about a half hour prior to the discovery. However, forensic evidence showed the child had been deceased for at least a couple of hours. The autopsy showed the cause of death “undetermined,” although the child showed no outward signs of trauma, Wiseley said. Accidental asphyxiation would unlikely cause death, given the child’s age, Wiseley added.

Wiseley argued against the motion for bond, citing concerns for the safety of the defendant. The court recently ordered Reyes-Rivera to undergo evaluations to determine his mental state at the time of the alleged offenses and his competency to stand trial on the charges. Prior to the order, Reyes-Rivera, while incarcerated at the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail, was placed on suicide watch. At one point, Reyes-Rivera refused to eat or drink in the jail, prompting the court to order that he receive sustenance. The defendant also received some treatment at Western State Hospital, though only for short periods.

Hupp had scheduled a hearing on the status of the evaluations. At the bond hearing, Araj said neither of the evaluations had been completed. Araj made a motion to commit Reyes-Rivera to a mental health facility to undergo outpatient treatment. Hupp denied the motion, noting that committing the defendant before the evaluations are complete is premature.

Hupp scheduled a hearing on motions for Aug. 15. The judge set the case for a jury trial Oct. 5.