Couple indicted in death of child

A couple indicted by a Washington County, MD, Grand Jury for last spring’s death of 9-month-old child face child abuse charges in Hagerstown.

Hagerstown police arrested the baby’s mother, Ashley Nicole Franklin, 34, of Hagerstown, Monday. They are still trying to locate the child’s father, William Antonio Conyers, 27, also of Hagerstown.

Franklin’s charges:

  • 1st Degree Child Abuse (resulting in death)
  • 1st Degree Child Abuse (Severe Physical Injury)
  • Involuntary Manslaughter
  • Neglect of a Minor

Conyers charges:

  • 1st Degree Child Abuse (Severe Physical Injury)
  • Neglect of a Minor

READ: Hagerstown murder suspect arrested

Developing the case

Hagerstown police responded to the 300 block of South Mulberry Street in Hagerstown last April, where they found a unresponsive baby. Officers immediately began CPR; and the child was rushed to Meritus Medical Center.

Life saving efforts continued at the hospital to no avail. Authorities there pronounced the little girl dead. The Office of the Medical Examiner in Baltimore did an autopsy; and HPD detectives immediately opened an investigation into the child’s death. .

The investigation spanned several months while investigators waited for the autopsy results. Those results came back Oct. 6. The autopsy report listed “complications of malnutrition” and “neglect” as the causes of death. The report determined homicide to be the manner of death.

The case went to the Grand Jury of Washington County on Oct. 19, combining those autopsy results with evidence gathered during the investigation.

The Grand Jury indicted the couple; and the Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office helped decide the charges filed in the case.

Family members are caring for Franklin’s two older children, both of whom are in good health. The children were in good health when placed with what police called “appropriate” family members last spring at the time of the baby’s death.

HPD took the opportunity this week to thank the Department of Social Services and the Child Advocacy Center for their assistance with the case.

Hagerstown police ask for the public’s help in locating Conyer. Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Fleegal at [email protected] or call 240-313-4345.