Two from Chillicothe charged with multiple counts of child abuse

Child Abuse Graphic

Two Chillicothe residents have been charged with three felony counts of abuse or neglect of a child following a house fire in Chillicothe in January.

Twenty-seven-year-old Donnie Clay Matheson’s charges involve serious emotional or physical injury. The bond for Matheson and 26-year-old Heather Louise Woods is $15,000 cash only, no surety for each.

Probable cause statements say Chillicothe Police officers responded to a house fire at 324 Cherry Street and told the Chillicothe Fire Department that the living conditions before the fire were not habitable and of concern for the children. Officers entered the home after it was deemed safe for entry and allegedly smelled dog feces and urine, saw trash on the floors, and found drug paraphernalia in three bedrooms. Matheson, Woods, and three children were living in the single bedroom where the fire generated.

A probable cause statement notes the Missouri State Fire Marshal determined the fire was started after a three-year-old, who was in the care, custody, and control of Matheson, obtained a lighter and set flammable material on fire while Matheson was asleep.