COVINGTON — Nancy Renee Fridley waived her right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Alleghany County, meaning a grand jury will be the next stop for a drug possession charge linked to the May disappearance of a toddler from a Giles County church.
After Tuesday’s hearing in General District Court, Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Gardner and defense attorney Charlie Moore of Warm Springs separately said that the most serious parts of Fridley’s case seem likely to play out in Giles County.
Alleghany County’s next grand jury is scheduled to meet in January and is likely to decide then if Fridley should be tried in the county’s circuit court for possessing a Schedule I or II drug, the attorneys said.
Fridley, 45, was charged in both counties after the May 2 disappearance of 2-year-old Noah Gabriel Trout, who was taken from a nursery at Riverview Baptist Church in Ripplemead during Sunday services.
At earlier hearings, prosecutors said that Fridley told child care workers that she was supposed to pick up the boy, then left with him — but that the boy and his family did not know Fridley or have any connection to her. Investigators say that before going to the Ripplemead church that Sunday, Fridley went to childcare areas at two churches in Narrows and sought to take children, but staff members would not release them to her.
About 25 hours after Noah left Riverview Baptist Church, a multi-agency search located him in the Clifton Forge mobile home that Fridley shared with her boyfriend, Bobby Lee Taylor, 43. Officers said that Noah’s head had been shaved but that he was unharmed. Fridley and Taylor had introduced him to neighbors as “Bobby Jr.” and said that he was Taylor’s son, a prosecutor said.
Fridley was charged in Giles County with abduction and child abuse or neglect. Her case was delayed about two months after she was determined not to be mentally competent to assist in her defense. Fridley received restorative mental health care and last month was declared ready to stand trial.
She has a preliminary hearing scheduled in Giles County for Dec. 16.
Taylor is charged with abduction and drug possession, both in Alleghany County. He had a plea hearing earlier this month but surprised prosecutors by saying that he had changed his mind and wanted to take his case to a trial. He has a jury trial scheduled for Jan. 20.