Lawsuit attempts to link 2 incidents before baby died

Joyce L. Miller

Three family members are behind bars on charges relating to two incidents that involved a 7-month-old infant who is now dead.

The mother, Christina White, faces arson, child endangerment and murder charges in connection with the death of her infant son Wayne Anderson Jr.

The charges stem from a fire July 11 at her sister’s home in Iberia when she allegedly used a cigarette lighter to ignite her son’s blanket.

The grandparents, Walter Lee White Jr. and Charleana Gayle White, both of Iberia, were taken into custody after an investigation into a June 23 incident at their home in Iberia. The Whites were each charged with one felony and two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment.

The two incidents appear to be what former police officer Wayne Shaw is referring to in a federal lawsuit filed against the city of Iberia and Mayor Jack Hogue.

The infant and his 4-year-old sibling are listed in court documents in the case involving the grandparents and the mother.

The grandparents were caring for the infant June 23 when the Iberia Police Department visited the home of Walter and Charleana White.

Shaw was one of the officers involved in that call. The incident that led to the child endangerment charges and the fire that took the infant’s life occurred within weeks of each other.

According to court documents, two officers showed up at Walter and Charleana’s home after their 4-year-old granddaughter was seen chasing a ball out into the road.

The Whites apparently had guardianship of the 4-year-old and were babysitting the infant while his mother, Christina, and his father were out on a date. The mother did not live with the grandparents.

The officers originally went to the Whites’ home to tell them to supervise the child more closely. Once there, officers found a 13-year-old sitting in the living room lighting a marijuana pipe. The Whites were sitting in the same room and made no attempt to stop the juvenile from lighting the pipe.

From where the officers were standing, they said they could smell the stench of rotten garbage. The home apparently had no running water or air conditioning. In the back yard was a pit several feet deep where the septic tank had collapsed.

Court documents stated the children were dirty, the older child’s hair was matted and the infant had some kind of rash on his chin.

At that point, court documents indicate Hogue got involved and advised the officers to have the children checked.

The Miller County Ambulance staff was on hand, and the children were later taken to Lake Regional Hospital.

Officers hot-lined the incident to the children’s division and referred the 13-year-old to juvenile authorities.

The juvenile was subsequently released to his parent. The children were later released to Christina White and Wayne E. Anderson. They agreed to take the children to a hotel until a residential inspection could be completed.

At that time, there was no evidence to support placing the children in foster care. There was no immediate threat to the children’s well-being, no warrants for the mother’s arrest and no allegations of abuse or neglect against her.

It was later determined the home where Christina White and her children lived was unfit. She agreed to move in with her sister.

It was while she was staying with her sister that Christina White allegedly set her child’s blanket on fire.

The infant was taken to the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics in Columbia, Mo., in critical condition, where he later died from his injuries.

She is being held without bond on the murder charge and $250,000 bond on the arson and child endangerment charges.

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