2 more facing charges in connection to child abuse in Marion County

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 12:32 PM EST
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FAIRMONT, W.Va (WDTV) - Two women have been charged in connection to a child abuse case in Marion County that was first reported to authorities last week.

45-year-old Linda Stemple, of Fairmont, and 27-year-old Chrystal Ridenour, of Clarksburg, are now facing child abuse charges in addition to 50-year-old Michael Stemple, who was charged last week.

Linda Stemple and Chrystal Ridenour
Linda Stemple and Chrystal Ridenour(WV Corrections)
Prior Coverage: Man charged with beating, threatening to kill 3 children while babysitting them

Investigators responded to United Hospital Center in Bridgeport on Tuesday, Nov. 7 in reference to three children, ages three, four and six, that had been beaten and transported to UHC, according to a criminal complaint.

Once on the scene, investigators say hospital staff told them the children had suffered a hematoma on their heads and faces and pressure wounds on their buttocks that indicated they were forced to be in a certain position for a “unnecessary period of time.”

Additionally, investigators say the three-year-old “had been struck severely in the head resulting in the white of his eyes to pool blood.”

Authorities say “it was apparent that the children had been severely beaten/abused based upon the multitude of bruises on their faces, arms, backs, legs, and chests.”

Court documents say two of the three children told medical staff that 50-year-old Michael Stemple caused their injuries.

Michael Stemple
Michael Stemple(WV Corrections)

Police say they spoke to Ridenour who said Michael and Linda had been babysitting them while she was at work, adding that “she had found out [Michael] was hitting the children approximately two weeks prior to this complaint, and had spoken with Michael and Linda about hitting the children.”

When Ridenour saw they had been beaten on Sunday, Nov. 5, Michael reportedly threatened her by saying he would kill the children and her if she called the police, according to the criminal complaint.

According to another criminal complaint, Linda was “an active participant and witness the abuse/torture” of the three children. It went on to say that Ridenour “was also present and witnessed the abuse of [the] three children” and “never attempted to stop or report the abuse.”

Michael Stemple was charged in Marion County last week with three counts of child abuse resulting in injury. He remains held at North Central Regional Jail on a $150,012 bond.

Linda Stemple has now also been charged in Marion County with three counts of child abuse resulting in injury. She is also being held at NCRJ on a $200,512 bond.

Chrystal Ridenour has been charged in Marion County with three counts of child abuse resulting in injury and in Harrison County with three counts of child neglect causing serious bodily injury. She is also being held at NCRJ on a combined $225,000 bond.