Move to add murder charge following toddler’s death

Laura Blanton and Robert Collins of Menifee County charged in deadly child abuse case. Victim 19-month old Aria Blanton.

FRENCHBURG, Ky. (WTVQ)- A judge in Menifee County is expected to rule in early May on a motion to add a murder charge for a couple arrested in connection to a deadly child abuse case, according to the Menifee County Circuit Clerk’s Office.

The toddler’s mother, 27-year old Laura Blanton and her boyfriend, 28-year old Robert Collins, both pleaded not guilty to child abuse charges during their Tuesday court appearance, according to the court clerk.

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According to the Fayette County coroner, 19-month old Aria Blanton died from multiple blunt force injuries on April 19th, two days after being rushed to Kentucky Children’s Hospital in Lexington. The coroner ruled her manner of death a homicide.

Investigators say Laura Blanton left her daughter in the care of Collins while she went to work at a convenience store. Authorities say Collins brought the child to Blanton’s workplace unresponsive on April 17, 2017. One of Blanton’s co-workers called 9-1-1.