UPDATE: Franklin County man charged after grandchild dies following reported fall; death ruled a homicide

Regional News

UPDATE 10:31 a.m. (7/9/21): One week after a Franklin County boy died at the hospital from injuries sustained in a reported fall, the medical examiner has ruled that boy’s death a homicide.

The medical examiner’s office told WFXR News the cause of the seven-year-old’s death was blunt force trauma to the head.

As of Thursday, July 8, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office says 50-year-old John Robert Ebel of Rocky Mount — the boy’s grandfather and caretaker — is being held without bond after he was charged with felony child abuse.


FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — A Franklin County man is facing child abuse charges after his grandchild died two days after being hospitalized for injuries sustained in a fall.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office says a call came in from Roanoke Memorial Hospital on Wednesday, June 30 about a seven-year-old child injured in a reported fall.

The child then died from those injuries at the hospital on Friday, July 2, authorities say.

According to officials, an autopsy was performed at the Medical Examiner’s Office on Saturday, July 3, but the results are still pending at this time.

Through the course of investigation, the sheriff’s office says 50-year-old John Robert Ebel of Rocky Mount — the child’s grandfather and caretaker — has been charged with felony child abuse and is currently being held without bond.

As of Thursday, July 8, authorities say the investigation is still ongoing.

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