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New charges placed against 3 relatives in case of alleged abuse and murder of 7-year-old boy

New indictments charge a Rocky Mount man with murder in the death of his 7-year-old step-grandchild as well as bring cases against two other members of the family, according to court records and authorities.

John Robert Ebel, 50, was arrested on a charge of child abuse in July after his step-grandson died at a hospital of injuries that people claimed were the result of a fall, officials said.

Search warrants filed by investigators said that 7-year-old Hunter Wayne Cumbie was brought into Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital on June 30, and airlifted to Roanoke where he was placed on a ventilator while being treated for head trauma.

He died two days later.

Ebel, described by officials as a caretaker to the child, was arrested days later and accused of felony child abuse.

The sheriff’s office said at the time that its investigation remained ongoing. On Monday, indictments were issued accusing Ebel of second-degree murder in the child’s death. A second charge of child abuse was also added to his case.

Ebel, who’s listed as being held in jail without bond, hasn’t yet appeared in court to respond to the allegations.

A hearing date for his case didn’t immediately appear on an online docket. Franklin County Commonwealth’s Attorney A.J. Dudley said he couldn’t discuss the details of the allegations at this stage of the process.

Also facing charges in the new round of indictments is Alice Marie Ebel, wife of John Ebel, and her son, Dakota Wayne Cumbie, officials said.

An obituary for Hunter Wayne Cumbie listed Dakota Cumbie as his uncle and Alice M. Ebel as his grandmother. In July, a relative told The Roanoke Times that the child had been living with his grandmother.

Alice Ebel, who was arrested after the indictments were issued, is accused of one count of child abuse and one count of cruelty or injury to a child, according to court records.

Dakota Cumbie, also in custody, is accused of one count of aggravated sexual battery of a child and two counts of sodomy, according to court records.

The language of the indictments show that authorities believe the victim in those cases was a child with the initials H.W.C.

Dudley said he couldn’t release any additional information.

Alice Ebel and Dakota Cumbie are both listed as being held in jail without bond. Dakota Cumbie has a court appearance set for Oct. 13, and Alice Ebel has a hearing scheduled for Oct. 28.

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