A Roebuck man received a 30-year sentence
Wednesday after pleading guilty to child neglect, unauthorized removal of a dead body and drug charges.
Chuck McCullough, 36, of 169 Louisa St., and his estranged wife, Carissa McCullough, 23, were each charged with several crimes after Spartanburg County sheriff's deputies found their 2-month-old child dead in a truck they were driving.
Assistant Solicitor Scott Spivey said their son, Noah, was found in a locked Tupperware box
. The couple — separated at the time — had been at Chuck McCullough's residence the night before Noah was found dead. Officers suspected foul play and went to the residence where they discovered a meth lab, Spivey said.
Spivey said there were no physical signs of trauma on Noah and that the cause of his death was undetermined in an autopsy
. A toxicology test also was performed, and the infant did not have drugs in his system
or certain ingredients used to make methamphetamine that would indicate he inhaled the drug.
Spivey said Carissa McCullough told investigators she fed the baby, burped him, put him to bed face down and awoke to find him dead. Spivey said Carissa McCullough became hysterical and claimed that McCullough put their son in the box and locked it.
Public Defenders James Cheek and Richard Whelchel represented McCullough.
Whelchel said there was no evidence that Noah died as a result of the meth lab and that his death was an unfortunate accident that could happen to an infant in any home.
"There was no relationship between the drugs and the child dying," Whelchel said.
McCullough told Circuit Court Judge Mark Hayes that he had gone through tenth grade and was father to four children ages 4 to 18.
"He's uneducated and he panicked. They both panicked," Whelchel said of the couple after they found the dead infant.
Cheek said Carissa McCullough chose to take the child to McCullough's home despite the fact that he was only allowed supervised visits with the infant. The Department of Social Services became involved with the family one year before Noah's death in an unrelated case.
Hayes sentenced McCullough to the maximum for all charges to which he pleaded guilty — including 30 years for manufacturing methamphetamine, third offense. That sentence will run concurrent with possession of methamphetamine, third offense; unlawful neglect of a child; manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of a minor child and unauthorized removal of a dead body.
Carissa McCullough, 23, pleaded guilty last week and received a 30-year sentence
for child neglect, manufacturing methamphetamine and exposing a child to methamphetamine, but is expected to serve two years of home detention followed by three years of probation
if she meets several requirements imposed in Circuit Court Judge Letitia Verdin's sentence. Verdin warned Carissa McCullough she would serve 30 years in prison if she returned to her former lifestyle and did not meet the requirements.