Joseph Barney was an 8-year-old boy who died on June 1, 2021, in the Bronx, NY. On March 22, 2022, his manner of death was changed from unknown to murder. Police have since arrested his parents. This is an open and ongoing investigation.
Joseph Barney’s lived with his mother, Sharay Barney, and stepfather Michael Ransom in an apartment on 217th Street in Williamsbridge, Bronx, New York. Joseph was on the autistic spectrum. Beyond these basic facts, nothing further is known about Joseph at this time, due to the ongoing nature of this investigation.
On the morning of June 1, 2021, Barney, discovered Joseph unresponsive. She called her husband, Ransom, to come home from work immediately because of Joseph’s condition. Barney and Ransom brought him to Montefiore Medical Center via Uber; they thought that it would be faster than waiting for an ambulance. Once in the emergency room, Joseph was pronounced dead. Although he had no outward appearance of trauma, Joseph was extremely malnourished. Joseph’s condition and death prompted emergency room staff to report his death to Bronx investigators. Police were immediately dispatched and arrived at the emergency room at 2:10 p.m. that afternoon.
Investigators immediately began questioning Joseph’s parents. Barney told news sources, “They weren’t even giving me time to grieve with my son, even though I saw how he looked and I can’t get it out of my head. They [police] have no respect… I was detained in two different rooms. And they locked me inside the room and I felt like I was in jail.”
Ransom stated, “We took care of him. I loved him like my own son.”
At this time, the medical examiner and investigators are not releasing a lot of information. What has been said is that Jospeh’s autopsy revealed “numerous indications” of ongoing child abuse. The medical examiner initially believed the cause of death was malnourishment. Joseph was at least 25 pounds underweight, weighing only 30 pounds at the time of his death.
According to news sources, Joseph had been taken to Montefiore Medical Center many times prior to his death. The hospital listed the reasons for the visits as possible child abuse. Investigators have said that they have found no record of investigations by the Administration of Children’s Services stemming from these prior hospital visits. A spokesperson from the ACS stated, “As soon as this family came to our attention, we launched an immediate investigation with the NYPD.”
Initially, no immediate charges were filed for Joseph’s death. That changed on March 22, 2022, when Joseph’s official cause of death was changed to homicide due to battered child abuse syndrome. By definition, BCS is “the complex of physical injuries (as fractures, hematomas, and contusions) that results from gross abuse (as by a parent) of a young child.”
Barney and Ransom have been formally charged.
Michael Ransom, 33, and Sharay Barney, 29, are both being charged with murder, manslaughter, and aggravated manslaughter in the death of Joseph Barney.
Michael Ransom is employed as a sanitation worker. Police sources stated that he has almost two dozen arrests on his record, including a few domestic violence assaults.
Sharay Barney has no history of arrest. At this time, there is no pending trial date set.