TULARE, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Two adults were charged with child abuse after a 2-year-old died in Tulare, officials with the Tulare District Attorney Office announced on Monday.
According to the DA’s office, 46-year-old Michael Francis and 27-year-old Priscilla Roshell were each charged with two counts of torture and child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death.
Tulare police officials said on Thursday, Roshell and Francis were arrested following the death of a 2-year-old girl after Tulare police dispatchers received a 911 call reporting an unresponsive 2-year-old girl who was being transported to a local hospital by her mother, identified as 27-year-old Priscilla Roshell. Police say was visibly very upset when the officer contacted her.
Despite life-saving efforts by the medical staff, the 2-year-old was pronounced dead and the Tulare Police Department was contacted to assist with the investigation.
While investigating, detectives say they discovered severe injuries to the 2-year-old and learned two additional 5-year-old and 8-year-old children had not been located. The Tulare Police Department’s Patrol Division later located them along with 46-year-old Michael Francis – who police say is Priscilla Roshell’s friend.
The DA’s office says these individuals could be convicted to a maximum of life in prison, and are alleged to have committed these crimes between Oct. 1, 2022, and Dec. 15, 2022, against two minor victims.
At the moment, the specific cause of death of a deceased 2-year-old under the defendant’s care has not been medically established and is still under investigation, the District Attorney’s Office says.
Roshell and Francis pleaded not guilty and the court ordered no bail. They are scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 27, 2022.