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Arkansas Mother Charged with Christmas Morning Murder of Infant Who Died After ‘Severe Injuries’

Megan Ward and Nighton Collier courtesy of the Johnson County Sheriff's Office

Megan Ward and Nighton Collier courtesy of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office

A 21-year-old mother in Arkansas was arrested this week after authorities say she caused a series of “severe injuries” that left her 2-month-old son dead on Christmas morning. Megan Ward was taken into custody on Tuesday and charged with murder, according to a Wednesday press release from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

Ward’s 26-year-old boyfriend, Nighton Collier, was also arrested on lesser charges.

According to the sheriff, deputies responded to a 911 call in the early morning hours of Dec. 25 concerning an unresponsive infant at a residence located in Hartman, about six miles north of the Arkansas River. Upon arriving at the scene, first responders discovered the baby who was reportedly already deceased.

JCSO detectives and personnel with the Johnson County Coroner’s Office opened an investigation into the baby’s death which “revealed the child had sustained severe injuries which led to his death,” the sheriff’s office said. The investigation led deputies to arrest Ward, who was taken into custody at approximately 7 p.m. on Jan. 11.

Ward, of Ozark, was formally charged with one count of capital murder involving a victim 14 years old or younger and one count of first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor, according to online jail records. She is currently being held without bond and is scheduled to appear before a judge in Johnson County Circuit Court at 9 a.m. on Feb. 10.

Collier, of Hartman, was taken into custody at approximately 2:45 a.m. the following morning, authorities said. He is facing one count of hindering apprehension or prosecution by harboring or concealing another and one count of failure to appear. He remained in police custody as of Wednesday afternoon and his bond was set at $1,495. He is also scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 10 on the hindering apprehension charge, and again on March 16 for the failure to appear charge.

Tragically, Ward’s infant son was not the only young child to violently lose their life over the holidays.

As previously reported by Law&Crime, a 29-year-old mother in Georgia is also facing murder charges for allegedly killing her 1-year-old son, whom she claimed was injured after being hit by a truck while playing outside on Christmas Eve, police said. Investigators said the child’s injuries were “inconsistent with the story provided” by the mother.

In Missouri, a couple faces charges for the alleged Christmas Eve murder of a 2-year-old.

Out west, a father in California allegedly shot and killed a mother of three during a domestic dispute on Christmas Eve, then turned the gun on himself in what police said was a murder-suicide.

[image via Johnson County Sheriff’s Office]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.