Wythe County Sheriff: Mother, boyfriend charged in connection to toddler’s death in New River

Published: Jul. 10, 2019 at 12:59 AM EDT
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The Wythe County Sheriff released further information after the body of a 3-year-old was recovered from the New River early Wednesday morning.

Sheriff Keith Dunagan said more than 100 people searched for the body of three-year-old Josie Burleson, who was later recovered a little after 1:00 a.m. by rescue teams 100-yards under the water.

According to a press release from the Wythe County Sheriff's office the mother of the child, Kimberly Dawn Moore, and the boyfriend, Adrian Neil Puckett, have been arrested and charged with Felony Child Neglect with Reckless Disregard for life and Felony child endangerment.

Sheriff Dunagan said, after interviewing Moore and Puckett, they both stated the child was playing outside near the New River Trail and wandered off.

Authorities also disclosed both Moore and Puckett were under the influence of meth at the time Josie went missing. Further charges are possible.

They're both being held at the New River Regional Jail without bond.

The rental house the family was visiting was located at 290 Rocky Road, the house was within 150 yards of the New River.

In the 36 years that Dunagan worked as the Sheriff of Wythe County, he said there have been "several" drownings in the New River but, "When it's a small child, it's really different. Probably the worst thing for the responders is the fact that it is a small child because it tugs at your heart a little bit more.


The Wythe County Sheriff has confirmed 3-year-old Josie Burleson is dead.

Her body was found in the New River early Wednesday morning.

Burleson's mother and her boyfriend have been arrested and charged with child neglect.

Original Story:

Search teams are working to locate a missing girl in the Barren Springs area of Wythe County.

Josie Burleson is 3-years-old, and a family friend confirmed to WDBJ7 that she was last seen playing by the New River Trail near Bertha Farms.

Right now, 3 to 4 boats are out on the water and multiple agencies are on the ground.

WDBJ7 has a crew there working to learn more information.

Stay with WDBJ7 for updates.