BUCKHANNON — A local man has been accused of child abuse resulting in injury following an incident that allegedly occurred sometime before Christmas. Robert Page Dowell, age 29, was arrested for reportedly striking his ex-girlfriend’s adolescent son in the chin with a hammer, according to court documents.
The report said that upon receiving a walk-in complaint in reference to child abuse on January 25, 2020, the mother of the victim advised Sr. Trooper P.J. Robinette that her ex-boyfriend (the accused) hit her 10-year-old son in the chin with a claw hammer last year, causing injury. The mother informed the officer that the incident had occurred a few days before Christmas of last year and stated that her son approached her saying that he had been hit by “Dad,” as he commonly called the accused.
The child reportedly told his mom that he didn’t know why the accused had hit him. The mother had photographed the injury during the time of the incident; however, she didn’t previously report anything since Dowell had claimed it was an accident from him repairing something inside the home. During the weeks following the incident, the child began mentioning that he was scared to be inside the home. According to court documents, the mother asked why he did not want to be inside the home, and the child informed her that it was because he had been hit with a hammer by the accused.
On February 10, Robinette conducted an interview with Dowell. During the interview, the accused allegedly confessed to injuring the child and stated that he struck the child in the chin, due to the claim of being “nervous” over not having enough money for smokeless tobacco. The accused added that he and the child’s mother had been living together for several months before the incident and he was frequently left in charge of the child victim and his younger brother.
On the same day, a forensic interview was also conducted with the child by Forensic Interviewer Tracy Shroyer-Carlyle at the Mountain CAP Child Advocacy Center of Buckhannon. During the interview, the child reportedly provided information supporting his mother’s report.
Dowell was detained on Monday afternoon at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail, where he remains. If found guilty, possible penalties include confinement in the state penitentiary not less than one year, nor more than five years, and/or a fine of not less than $100, nor more than $1,000, or confinement in jail not more than one year for child abuse resulting in injury. Magistrate Mike Coffman set bond in the amount of $50,000. The accused is prohibited from having any contact with children and must comply with random drug/alcohol testing when he is released on bond.