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Westlake Legal Group > Local News

Woman sentenced to 3 years after injecting son with her own blood

A Fairfax County, Virginia, woman has been sentenced to three years in prison for injecting her son with her own blood, the Commonwealth’s Attorneys Office confirmed Friday.

Elizabeth Malone, 28, was arrested on a charge of child abuse in spring 2018. Staffers at Inova Children’s Hospital in Falls Church had called officers after seeing Malone act suspiciously in the 5-year-old’s room, Fairfax County police said.

Footage from a hidden camera showed Malone pick up a syringe, empty its contents, refill the syringe with an unknown substance, then insert the substance into the boy’s mouth and nose, according to documents. The footage later helped confirm that the substance was her own blood.

Reportedly, the boy had been brought to the hospital seven times in four months. NBC Washington reports the boy was severely disabled, and the injections led to serious infections. 

Malone may suffer from Munchausen by proxy, Malone’s lawyer told NBC Washington. Munchausen by proxy is a mental health disorder in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury to someone in their care in order to get attention.

At the hearing Friday, NBC Washington reported Malone pleaded with the judge:

“I’m not a monster. I’m not an evil woman. I love my children,” she said.

Malone has already served one year in prison since her arrest. The sentence confirms she will spend another two years behind bars.

“We hope this sentence will help with the healing process for those whose lives have been forever altered by these evil actions taken against an innocent child,” said Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Casey Lingan.

“This was a truly tragic case.”

WTOP’s Jack Pointer contributed to this story.


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Va. health officials warn of increased respiratory illnesses; Greenspring says no new cases

The Virginia Department of Health said it’s receiving an increased number of reports of respiratory illness throughout the state compared to previous years, adding that most of those reports are among older adults and those with chronic medical conditions in assisted living and long-term care facilities.

The reports are statewide and involve different diseases.

That includes pertussis (whooping cough), influenza, Haemophilus influenzae infection, Legionnaire’s disease and pneumonia caused by rhinovirus or human metapneumovirus.

“A variety of germs cause respiratory illness, some with increased activity in summer months,” State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA, said in a release. “We encourage everyone to take steps to minimize the severity and prevent spreading illness to others.”

The news follows on the heels that three people died and dozens more were sickened by an upper respiratory illness at Greenspring Retirement Community in Springfield.

The Fairfax County Health Department said Friday that it continues to monitor the outbreak.

But the agency had good news: There have been no new illnesses reported in the assisted living and Garden Ridge areas for the last few days, and residents who have been ill are recovering.

The county health department also said the cause of the illnesses has yet to be identified.

“To avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others, it is important to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing,” Oliver said. “To help prevent the spread of germs, avoid close contact with people who are sick. Anyone who is sick should stay home, except when seeking medical care. If you develop difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, immediately seek medical care.”

There was also an outbreak of respiratory illnesses at Heatherwood, an assisted-living facility in Burke, but officials said Wednesday there was no evidence linking the two outbreaks.

Per the Virginia Health Department: Certain groups are especially vulnerable for developing severe respiratory illness, including young children, adults 65 years or older, those with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart conditions) and those with weakened immune systems.

Extreme heat, such as the heat wave Virginia is currently experiencing, can also be dangerous for older adults and people with heart and lung diseases.

Tips to avoid heat-related illness include drinking plenty of water, keeping cool indoors, dressing for the heat and limiting physical activity, especially in the middle of the day.

For more information about heat-related illness, see the Virginia Department of Health’s website.


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After flooding, Fairfax Co. declares local emergency; other jurisdictions still adding up damage

Fairfax County, Virginia, became the latest jurisdiction in the area to declare a local emergency following the flash flooding last week that damaged homes, businesses and roads.

The county Board of Supervisors voted for the declaration this week, which is required in Virginia for local governments that plan to seek disaster relief funding for residents and business owners.

The declaration allows jurisdictions to request additional resources from the state and federal governments and could potentially lead to FEMA assistance.

“We’re going to be in that process today, tomorrow and probably in the next couple months, ensuring that these folks are taken care of,” said Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill.

Arlington County and the City of Falls Church already declared their own local emergencies. Early next week, the Alexandria City Council plans to discuss doing the same thing.

“That was a 100-year storm that we experienced,” Hill said.

Local governments across the area are still adding up the damage.

In Maryland, where the jurisdictions are not required to go through the process of declaring a local emergency, officials have been reviewing reports from residents and deciding whether they will seek assistance.

“Getting a federal disaster declaration is very difficult,” said Earl Stoddard, director of Montgomery County’s Emergency Management Agency. “We’re not sure we’re going to meet those thresholds, but we want to give our residents the best opportunity to make the case to the state that such a declaration is necessary.”

Reagan National Airport reported 3.3 inches of rain in an hour, including a half-inch of rain in 11 minutes, during the morning of Monday, July 8.

Between 3 and 6 inches of rain had fallen in Montgomery County by 11 a.m.

Water levels at Cameron Run, in Alexandria, a flood-prone area along the Capital Beltway, rose more than 7 feet over 30 minutes, according to the National Weather Service.


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96-year-old Springfield man breaks 5K world record for his age group

Though it’s still pending review, 96-year-old Springfield, Virginia, resident Roy Englert clocked a new 5K record in the 95-99 age group at 42:30.23 during the USATF Masters Outdoor Championships in Ames, Iowa, last week.

The previous record was 50:10.56, set by Frank Levine in 2009, USA Track & Field said.

Englert holds other running records as well.

And he isn’t much for compliments.

“I don’t consider myself that much of an inspiration. I’m a slow runner,” he said in a Run Washington profile. “But I guess I’ve outlasted almost everybody. It gets easier to win when there’s not as much competition around.”


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DMV under Excessive Heat Warning today; Metro delays payment app

An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect today across the DMV from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Temperatures will be near 100 degrees in the afternoon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, causing the heat index to near 100 to 115 degrees. Officials are warning that this is considered life-threatening heat. (WUSA9)

Metro has yet to release the first version of a SmarTrip app it had proposed last year, which would allow riders to use their smartphones as SmarTrip cards while riding. Other transportation services in the area such as the Fairfax Connector buses are considering moving forward with developing their own apps rather than waiting for WMATA. (WTOP)

If you’re visiting the National Zoo this weekend and want to see the giant pandas, plan to arrive early. The pandas have all-day access to air conditioning and tend to take longer naps in the cooler space when temperatures are high, so they will most likely only be out in the early morning. (WTOP)

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been started by the Westover Village Civic Association to raise money for Arlington residents impacted by flood damage during the flash floods earlier this month. The campaign has a $50,000 goal and has raised $8,510 in three days. (GoFundMe)

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‘If you’re human, this can happen’: Avoiding child hot car death

Every year, an average of almost 40 children die from being trapped inside hot vehicles — and that danger will increase over the next several days, with temperatures in the upper 90s.

And the biggest mistake a conscientious parent could make is believing they would never leave their child in a car, said Janette Fennell, president and founder of KidsAndCars.org.

“If you’re human, this can happen,” said Fennell.

The temperature inside a car can reach 110 degrees even at an outside temperature of 60 degrees.

“The first 10 minutes, the temperature can raise as much as 20 degrees, so in this weather that can be fatal,” she said.

Her group offers the catchphrase “look before you lock”: “When you arrive at your destination, just open the back door and make sure no one’s back there, or nothing’s back there.”

Parents should keep their cars locked even in driveways and garages, Fennell said, because children can sneak in without the parent’s knowledge.

If parents need a reminder to look in the rear seat, “Put your cell phone back there, or your handbag, or employee badge, or something you’ll need at your destination.”

Another way to ensure that parents look in the rear seat before leaving their car is to keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. “As soon as you put your child in there, toss that stuffed animal up front,” she said. That way, “There’s always something in the child’s car seat — if it’s not the stuffed animal, it’s the baby.”

And parents should institute a strict policy with their child care provider about day care drop-off. “If your child hasn’t arrived as scheduled, they need to get a hold of you” to ensure you didn’t mistakenly leave him in the rear seat, she said.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue said there is no time for delay: “If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved,” they urged in a statement. “Call 911 immediately. If the child seems hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.”


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Fairfax supervisors: ‘The Mile’ will be lasting achievement in Tysons

Fairfax County supervisors on July 16 unanimously approved “The Mile,” a mixed-use redevelopment project that will transform a sizable slice of eastern Tysons.

The Mile is a “beautiful application” and its signature park is “really going to be a landmark in Tysons,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova (D).

PS Business Parks LP will build nearly 3.05 million square feet of development on 38.84 acres bounded by Westbranch Drive to the west, Jones Branch Drive to the north and east, and Westpark Drive to the south. The existing parcels now have office buildings and associated parking, all of which will be removed to accommodate the new redevelopment.

Ten new buildings will be constructed on eight new blocks. Blocks A, C, F and G will be residential, as will Block B, which also will have a mini-warehousing option. Blocks D and H will be used for office, hotel or residential space, as will Block I, which also the option for mini-warehousing. Block E will be used for a public park and a retail kiosk of up to 5,000 square feet.

Maximum uses for the site will include 535,000 square feet for office space, nearly 2.82 million square feet for residential space, 300,000 square feet for storage, 340,000 square feet for hotel uses and 120,000 square feet for retail.

The development will provide 10.45 acres of publicly accessible open space, more than the required 8.52 acres. Six new parks will be provided, the largest of which will be a “signature park” on Block E.

The 5-acre signature park will provide options for passive and active recreation and have a common green with an expansive lawn, playground and picnic areas, and a performance stage. The applicant has offered to maintain the park and dedicate the common green to the Board of Supervisors or the Fairfax County Park Authority.

A series of smaller urban and linear parks on Blocks A, F, G and H will connect the signature park with Westpark Drive. An existing dog park on Block A will be relocated to Block G and made available to the public before the current dog park is closed.

The applicant has offered to build an off-site 330-by-180-foot athletic field (equal to a youth-league soccer field) with artificial turf on the south side of Boone Boulevard. The field will include bleachers, lighting and at least 25 parking spaces.

The Mile will feature four new roads plus frontage improvements along Westbranch, Westpark and Jones Branch drives and new traffic signals at the Jones Branch/Westbranch and Westpark/Westbranch intersections.

The development has an unusually large amount of land for a Tysons project and will not be a transit-oriented proposal, said applicant’s attorney Elizabeth Baker.

Baker concentrated her remarks on the development’s open spaces, especially its signature park.

“This is going to be an event lawn, a civic gathering spot, a playground, a lawn-game place,” she said.

An adjacent 3-acre park will have pickleball courts, yoga lawns, gardens, rock-climbing and water-play areas.

“It’s a very activated space. It’s designed to be multicultural for adults and children alike,” Baker said.

The far west portion of the site will feature another active-recreation area with basketball courts and fitness areas. This park will connect with the adjacent Ken Lawrence Park.

Baker also played an animated video offering a stroll through the development’s parks, which featured outlines of people and dogs traversing the area.

The project “will really be a lasting achievement in Tysons,” predicted Supervisor Linda Smyth (D-Providence), who moved for the project’s approval.


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Red Weather Alerts for weekend in DMV; Power outages affect 53,000 local residents

Previous reports about this weekend’s heat index have now been upgraded, warning of Red Weather Alerts for Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the DMV. Temperatures are expected to be around 100 degrees each afternoon, with heat index levels ranging from 105 to 115 degrees. (WUSA9)

Severe storms swept across the region on Wednesday afternoon, leaving 53,000 Northern Virginia residents without power. As of Thursday morning, 3,500 residents remain without power and more chances of storms are expected for the afternoon and evening. (Inside NoVA)

Fairfax County supervisors unanimously voted on July 16 to approve “The Mile,” a mixed-use redevelopment project that will lead to transform roughly 38.84 acres of Tysons, including buildings that will house retail, office and business space and a “signature park”. (Inside NoVA)

Pentagon City mall is seeking plus-size models for an upcoming fall fashion show, and no experience is required. The mall will host an open casting call on Saturday, July 27. It is looking for women sizes 10 and up, and men sizes 2XL and up. (WTOP)

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Silver Line extension on track to open next year despite issues, official says

Switches in the new Silver Line rail yard do not line up with the tracks they are supposed to connect to, systems to detect train locations in the yard have failed, and there are still problems with the rocks that support the tracks, a new report to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board said.

The rail yard must be completed for Metro to take over and open the rail line to Dulles International Airport and Ashburn, Virginia.

Even with the ongoing problems, Airports Authority project head Charles Stark still believes it is possible to turn the new line and yard over to Metro in time to get riders on board around July 2020.

The contractor building the rail yard for the Airports Authority has largely completed significant track work fixes to long loop tracks at the yard, but has yet to address the problems with the switches failing to line up properly.

“It’s a derailment hazard,” Stark said Wednesday. “It’s very obvious … it’s been on the punch list for a long time.”

In a similar issue, but one that poses the risk of a collision rather than a derailment, fixes are required for insulated joints that have failed testing in ways that would prevent Metro from identifying the precise location of a train in the rail yard.

“All of these items are very old and, quite frankly, it’s taken Hensel Phelps a long time to get to the point where they’re starting to address these in a real expedited manner,” Stark said.

The contractor told the Airports Authority Board last month that it is negotiating over solutions for the issues and ways to address delays.

There are also long-running problems with the ballast — the rocks that support the tracks in the yard — since it was not washed properly before installation, and now fails to properly drain water during storms.

“It compromises the ability of the track to support the weight of the trains,” Stark said.

Metro is monitoring the issues and responses, as are the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission and Metro’s Office of Inspector General.

“We are working with WMATA and MWAA to determine how the contractor plans to address (the issues),” Inspector General Geoff Cherrington said.

“If issues like this are not addressed properly, we will recommend that WMATA not accept the project until the contractor and MWAA give their assurance that they have been addressed, and will not affect cost, operation and maintenance,” he added.

Metro must formally accept the Silver Line extension from the Airports Authority in order to start the process of launching service.

After taking ownership of the line, Metro will have about two months to do additional testing and training before it must start carrying riders between Loudoun County, Dulles airport and Reston.

WTOP’s Max Smith reported from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s headquarters in Crystal City.


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Fairfax Co. firefighter killed in Spotsylvania motorcycle crash

Westlake Legal Group 0717_firefighter Fairfax Co. firefighter killed in Spotsylvania motorcycle crash virginia news spotsylvania Mica Bland Local News Fairfax County, VA News
Fairfax firefighter Mica Bland. (Courtesy InsideNova)

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, InsideNoVa.com, and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

A veteran Fairfax County firefighter was killed Tuesday morning in a motorcycle crash on Route 3 in Spotsylvania County.

Mica Bland, 42, was on his motorcycle and stopped at a light when a pickup struck him from behind.

Bland, who lived in Lousia County, was on his way to work at the time, Fairfax County Fire Chief John Butler said in an announcement to the department.

“He proudly served our community for over 14 years,” Butler wrote. “Please keep his family, friends, and shift members at FS20 C-Shift in your thoughts and prayers.”


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