UPDATE Monday March 6 – Video from WSOC- TV
March 5, 2017 – The Watauga County Sheriff's Department has charged a man with multiple charges after the death of an infant on Friday.
On March 1, 2017, at approximately 11:47 AM the Watauga County Communications Center received a 911 call in reference to an infant not breathing at 375 Ray Brown Road, Boone, North Carolina. Watauga County Sheriff Officers responded with Meat Camp Fire Department First Responders and Watauga Medics to assist. The infant was transported by Watauga Medics to Watauga Medical Center Emergency Department and then transported to Brenner’s Children’s Hospital in Winston Salem for medical services.
An investigation into the incident started immediately and was conducted by the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the Watauga County Department of Social Services. Numerous interviews were conducted and information was gathered pertaining to this incident, according to Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman.
As a result of the initial investigation, and in consultation with the 24th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, on March 2, 2017 Ryan Neil Hicks, age 24 and a resident of 375 Ray Brown Road, was charged with Failure to Register as a Sex Offender and Negligent Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury. He was arrested and taken before a Watauga County Magistrate where he was given a $75,000.00 bond and a court date of March 30, 2017.
Watauga County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Unit, Watauga County Department of Social Services, Children’s Advocacy Center of the Blue Ridge and the NC State Bureau of Investigation Computer Crimes Unit continued to investigate the incident. Additional interviews were conducted and more information was gathered pertaining to this incident and Ryan Neil Hick’s involvement with the incident, according to the Sheriff.
On March 3, 2017, the infant was pronounced deceased at Brenner’s Children’s Hospital in Winston Salem and an autopsy was conducted on the infant and the results of that autopsy are pending, according to Sheriff Hagaman.
On March 4, 2017, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, in consultation with the 24th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, charged Ryan Neil Hicks with Negligent Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury, Sex Offender Using Social Website and Second Degree Murder. He was arrested and taken before a Watauga County Magistrate where he was given a $1,100,000.00 bond and a court date of April 6, 2017.
Ryan Neil Hicks. Photo provided by Watauga County Sheriff ‘s Department.