Mother's boyfriend charged after 3-year-old girl's drowning death still too high to appear in court

Josie's funeral has been scheduled for Saturday afternoon

By Lindsey Kennett - Reporter

WYTHE COUNTY, Va. - A 3-year-old girl who drowned in the New River on Wednesday will be buried over the weekend.

Her mother's boyfriend, Adrian Puckett, who was arrested in connection with her death, is still too high on meth to be arraigned. The girl's mother, Kimberly Moore, who was also arrested, was arraigned via video Thursday.

Right now, the pain is real for first responders, investigators and the entire community.

Sgt. Adam Keene, with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, wears a uniform every day but has a much more important job as a father.

"It kind of hits home. I'm a father myself. Going home to my kids, a hug and a kiss from them, a little extra special knowing that they're safe."

Keene spotted Josie Burleson's body in the New River early Wednesday morning.

"It's been an emotional roller coaster, for sure," said Keene.

Wythe County Sheriff Keith Dunagan said the autopsy revealed Josie drowned.

"The little girl had water in her sinuses and her lungs," said Dunagan.

Her death shaking is not only first responders and investigators, but the community, as well.

Vishal Rana runs Sai Mart near where Josie lived. He would see Puckett, Moore and little Josie almost every day.

"She would always smile, laugh," recalled Rana. "I never realized that this is going to happen to that little girl."

Investigators are heartbroken that Josie will never get justice.

"Nothing that happens in the courtroom is going to bring Josie back," said Wythe County Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Jones.

"I was really hoping I was just going to drive around the corner, there was little Josie walking down the New River Trail, and we were obviously heartbroken," said Keene.

Josie's funeral will be held this Saturday at the Mullins Funeral Home in Radford at 2 p.m.

Before that, her family will receive friends beginning at noon at the funeral home.

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