Accused killer mom, her parents in court on same day

Charis Patires

The mother and grandparents of an infant who died from injuries suffered when his blanket was allegedly set on fire appeared in a Miller County courtroom on charges ranging from child endangerment to the murder of the 7-month old.

The case is bringing with it attention to a rural county that has not been in the spotlight since the days of former Miller County Sheriff Tom Russell. In 1999, Russell was accused of corruption and later removed from office after a civil trial led by the Missouri Attorney General's Office.

The case of first degree murder against Christina L. White, 23, and subsequent arrest of her parents has brought statewide media attention to Tuscumbia. Charleana G. White, 42, and Walter L. White Jr., 44, have been charged in connection with a separate incident involving child endangerment and their grandchildren.

Christina White was charged earlier this month with first-degree murder after the death of her son Wayne E. Anderson Jr. at a Columbia, Mo., hospital. She appeared in a Miller County courtroom Monday morning for an arraignment on the murder charge.

White is being held without bond on the murder charge and $250,000 bond on arson and child endangerment charges filed prior to the infant’s death.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 19, when she will appear before a judge on all charges.

In an odd twist, Christina White was scheduled for court on the same day as her parents.

Charleana G. White, 42 and Walter L. White Jr., 44 also appeared in court Monday for an arraignment on one felony and two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment. The couple has asked for legal representation through the public defender's office. A case review has been set for Sept. 10.

They remain in custody on $10,000 bond each after an incident that involved two of Christina's children at their home on June 23. They were arrested last week.

The White's were taking care of Anderson and his 4-year-old sibling when the Iberia Police Department encountered the child in the street unsupervised.

When an officer went to the front door of the home to locate an adult, a 13-year old sitting on a sofa preparing to light a marijuana pipe could be seen through the open doorway, according to court documents. Charleana and Walter were in the same room and allegedly made no attempt to stop the juvenile.

A search of the home led to the discovery of additional drugs and paraphernalia.

According to court documents, officers found that the home was filthy, had no running water, a faulty septic system and smelled of rotting garbage.

The children were released to Christina White, who had agreed to take them to a hotel until a residential inspection of the place they were living could be completed.

On July 11, police were called to Christina's sister's house also located in Iberia in response to the fire.

The infant was taken to a hospital with second and third degree burns over 60 percent of his body. He died on July 31.

Contact this reporter at charisp@lakesunleader.com

CUSTODY REMAINS UNCERTAIN

MILLER COUNTY, Mo. -- As the case against accused murderer Christina White makes its way through the court system, the body of the infant she allegedly set on fire is in the custody of the coroner’s office until a decision is made regarding who decides where the child is laid to rest.

The court-appointed attorney for the infant has filed a motion in Miller County Circuit Court to determine what will happen with the infant’s remains.

According to documents obtained through the court, there is a question about paternity that has complicated releasing the body. Additional information is expected to be turned over to the court this week.