BOND REDUCED FOR COUPLE IN GIRL'S DEATH

Relates to:
Date: 1988-05-27

Author: The Associated Press

Dateline: SALEM

A judge has reduced bond to $75,000 each for a Roanoke County husband and wife charged with killing their 4-year-old adopted daughter by forcing her to swallow salt.

Attorneys for Jack F. Riggs, 39, and Beth M. Riggs, 35, had asked that their clients' $100,000 bonds be lowered to $20,000 at yesterday's hearing before John Quigley, a substitute Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court judge.

Quigley said he thought the $100,000 figure for each defendant was too high, but added: "They are facing serious charges. That's what bothers me, to be honest with you."

Roanoke County Commonwealth's Attorney Skip Burkart argued against bond reduction, saying authorities had a strong case against the couple in the May 17 death of Heather Riggs.

"Statements have been made indicating their involvement," Burkart said. "That mitigates against the court reducing bond."

Burkart said the girl, after being forced to ingest table salt as punishment for eating sugar, was hospitalized on May 16. Her blood pressure dropped the next day, and she suffered a heart attack and died, the prosecutor said.

Burkart said authorities got a break in the case when one or more of the couple's four natural sons reported to teachers at Glen Cove Elementary School that their sister may have been abused by their parents.

The couple's four sons, ages 7 to 13, are in the custody of their grandparents.

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