Police: 5-year-old found dead with sock in her mouth, 2 charged

Posted at 2:00 PM, March 17, 2023


WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Court TV) — Two women have been charged with murder in Missouri after police said a young child was found dead under a blanket.

In a news release, the Waynesville Police Department said its officers were initially called to a home after a student told a school resource officer that his 5-year-old sister had been unconscious and unresponsive at home.

In an affidavit of probable cause, Waynesville police said that when they arrived at the child’s home, a child born in 2006 greeted them at the door and confirmed that a child inside had died, telling the officers, “she choked.”

Shamira Buford booking photo

Shamira Buford is charged with murder for the death of a 5-year-old girl. (Pulaski County Sheriff)

Police made contact with two adult females, Shamira Danielle Buford and Angela Nicole West, who were asleep in a bedroom. When officers asked Buford where the 5-year-old child was, she told officers the little girl was located “under a blanket in the northwest end of the living room.” Officers noted the child “appeared to be lifeless.”

Responding officers who saw the 5-year-old noted “extensive ligature marks on (the child’s) wrists, ankles and neck” as well as a gray sock next to her body. The sock had what appeared to be blood and was “saturated with an unknown moisture.” The coroner noted there were fibers in the victim’s mouth.

Officers at the scene noted three pieces of rope in varying lengths. When the officers spoke with the minors in the home, they were told that when the 5-year-old “gets up in the middle of the night and steals, ‘we have to tie her up to the futon.'” The children in the home told officers that West and Buford were upset with the 5-year-old for stealing food, and that West had come up with the solution of tying the child’s arms behind her back and then tying her to the bed.

When officers spoke to West, she allegedly said, “we had been tying her up at the waist just to keep her from wandering … but I haven’t tied her up in a little while.”

Angela West booking photo

Angela West is charged with murder for the death of a 5-year-old girl. (Pulaski County Sheriff)

Buford confirmed the story when she spoke to police, saying they had begun by restraining the 5-year-old with duct tape before beginning to tie her up with rope approximately three weeks prior. According to the affidavit, Buford explained the sock by saying that the 5-year-old had kept the other children awake whining and crying: “For a couple of days we did put a sock in her mouth and a bandana over it, or some tape over it. … Last night I don’t know what happened. I got home 10:30, they was already in bed, she was tied up.”

Police noted that Buford, who attended a year and a half of college and is a Certified Nurse Assistant, denied ever putting the rope around the child’s neck or choking her. When police asked if she checked to make sure others were not tying the rope around the child’s throat, she replied, “honestly, no,” according to the affidavit.

In a news release, the Pulaski County Prosecutor’s Office said Buford and West were charged with second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child and child abuse. Both women are being held without bond.