|Emjay and his mother Nichole Hall (family photo)|
Charges have been dropped against a Joplin man who left a baby home alone to die while he received treatment at a methadone clinic last fall.
According to the Jasper County circuit clerks office, the charges against Eric Hicks, 29, were dismissed when prosecutor's asked for another continuance in the case.
Hicks was charged with endangering the welfare of a child after authorities were called to a home at 1322 S. Pennsylvania Ave. on the evening of October 27th after Nichole Hall, 32, threatened to kill herself and everyone in the house, according to sources close to the case. Hall was taken to a hospital that evening.
On October 29th, Hall's boyfriend, Hicks called authorities after he returned from the methadone clinic and found 18 month-old Emjay Braxton Corn dead in his crib. He told authorities he had been gone approximately one hour.
Authorities ruled the cause of little Emjay's death was blunt force trauma in November.
When asked if Emjay's injuries could have been caused by Hall prior to her hospitalization, or if the boy could have been dead for several hours or up to a day before Hicks's timeline, Joplin police Lt. Brian Lewis said at the time, "We're waiting on a forensic pathologist/anthropologist to establish a timeline in the case."
Authorities were called back out to the Pennsylvania Avenue house at least twice after Hall was released from the hospital. "On November 3rd an officer was requested to call the home and on November 4th there was a follow up," said Lewis.
|Charges have been dismissed against Eric J. Hicks|
Hall had been re-admitted to the mental hospital in early November but has since been released, according to sources close to the couple.
Lt. Lewis said this afternoon (03-08-12), "Our department is still actively investigating the homicide and working closely with the prosecutor's office in this investigation." Calls to Jasper County prosecutor Dean Dankelson have not been returned.
In September of 2008, Kyler DeShawn Jones was beaten to death by his caregiver, Byron Lang. It took prosecutors five months to file murder charges against Lang, who entered an Alford plea last year, and was sentenced to 15 years for Kyler's murder.
No charges have been filed against anyone at this time in connection to Emjay's murder.