Child’s death leads to first-degree murder charges against Shawnee man, woman

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SHAWNEE, Kan. — A man and woman from Shawnee arrested on Thursday each face first-degree murder charges in the death of a child that happened last November.

Jean Pierre Morales, 26, and Shelly Christine Vallejo, 29, are charged in Johnson County with first-degree murder, aggravated endangering a child and possession of a controlled substance. Neither the child’s name nor age are given in court documents, only the initials JPM. The child died on November 14, 2020 according to criminal complaints against the suspects.

The complaint alleges that Morales and Vallejo possessed Fentanyl the day the child died, and the murder charge is in the commission of another inherently dangerous felony, which is tied to their charge for endangering the child. Merriam police filed the initial offense report, officers began investigating just after 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 14.

The complaint lists investigators from multiple jurisdictions in Johnson County, and witnesses that include social media and telecommunications companies. A forensic toxicology lab is also listed.

Michael Duma, an Olathe-based attorney who is representing Vallejo, sent the following statement to FOX4, denying the accusations made in the charging documents:

“Ms. Vallejo is a grieving mother who has tragically lost a young child. She is not a murderer and did not contribute to the death of her son. We look forward to our day in court where we can demonstrate these facts to a jury.”

Online court records indicate that an attorney from the public defender’s office will be appointed to represent Morales.

Both defendants made their first appearance in Johnson County District Court Friday, and both are being held in the county jail on $1 million bonds.

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