Nashville family charged in the death of 1-year-old niece

Posted at 4:31 PM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 05:46:35-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A grand jury indictment released Thursday charged two family members with first-degree felony murder for the drug-related death of their one-year-old niece.

The indictment also charged Ronald Spencer and Christy Shadowens with aggravated child neglect.

The incident happened in late January when Alayna Shadowens stayed with the couple for a few days. Shadowens discovered her niece unresponsive and not breathing. Emergency personnel rushed the child to the hospital where she was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.

Police said the medical examiner found that Alayna died of acute methamphetamine toxicity. The police investigation found the couple had narcotics in their home and were the sole providers for the child upon her death.

Spencer is currently in custody on unrelated drug charges. Police said Shadowens may be in the Dickson area.

Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and qualify for a cash reward.