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Mother questioned in death of Charlotte County child

By Associated Press
Published June 6, 2004

PORT CHARLOTTE - A 2-year-old boy's death has been labeled suspicious, and investigators are seeking to determine if his mother is responsible for his fatal injuries.

Holly Burdell, 20, of Port Charlotte, said she was questioned by investigators on Friday, one day after her son, Shane Poling Jr., died from brain injuries. Burdell denied that either she or her boyfriend, Larry H. Barfield, played a role in Shane's death.

"I would never do that to my son," Burdell said.

Burdell said authorities are looking into the possibility that her son suffered the fatal brain injuries while being violently shaken. Charlotte County sheriff's detectives declined to comment Friday.

Barfield said the toddler suffered a bump on his head in a fall May 28, but neither he nor Burdell sought medical attention until Tuesday when the boy became increasingly sick.

"I know for a fact she did not do this to our son," said the boy's father, Shane Poling Sr.

Shane was the third child to die in Charlotte County since Wednesday; in each of the other two cases, a parent was charged with murder.

Hannah Burns, 7, was allegedly killed by her mother, Ruth Ann Burns, Wednesday in a Punta Gorda motel room, officials said.

On Thursday, 4-month-old Matthew Eubanks died in his Punta Gorda home. His father, Charles Eubanks, 19, is accused in the case.

[Last modified June 5, 2004, 23:51:22]

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