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Andrew Frye

Andrew Frye

11-Year-Old Boy Charged With Murder In Brother's Killing

6-Year-Old Boy Shot In Head

July 1, 2011

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (WRTV-6) -- An 11-year-old boy is being charged with murder in the shooting death of his 6-year-old brother.

Andrew Frye was shot in the head with a .22-caliber gun at his home south of Martinsville on Thursday afternoon, the Morgan County Sheriff's Department said.

The 11-year-old was the only other person at home, just east of State Road 37, at the time of the shooting, and he called 911 afterward, police said.

Morgan County Prosecutor Steve Sonnega announced Friday that the 11-year-old would be charged as a juvenile with murder and criminal recklessness.

According to Indiana law, juvenile murder charges are immediately upgraded to adult charges, but only if the person is 16 years old or older.

Authorities released the 11-year-old's name Friday, but 6News' policy is to not release the name of a juvenile unless he or she has been charged as an adult.

Sonnega declined to release many details of the shooting, citing strict privacy rules in juvenile court.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions," he said. "The detectives worked all last night... and they will continue to work all weekend."

Neighbors of the young boys were shocked by the violence.

"It is very sad, very sad," said neighbor Louise Taylor.

"He (Andrew Frye) was a good kid," said neighbor Jessica Purgason. "He was quiet. He just wanted to play. That's all he was about."

Police originally thought that the boy's shooting was an accident.

Also:

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) - The 11-year-old stepbrother of the 6-year-old fatally shot Thursday in Morgan County is being charged with murder, officials said Friday.  The 11-year-old is being held at the Johnson County Detention Center. A hearing has been set for July 6.

The two boys were home alone when the shooting happened southwest of Martinsville, near Liberty Church Road and Ind. 37, police said Thursday. The younger brother was flown to Riley Hospital in Indianapolis, where he later died.

UPDATE:

July 28, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- The case of an 11-year-old Martinsville boy accused of fatally shooting his 6-year-old brother is raising questions about when sibling rivalry becomes something more serious.

The 11-year-old was charged last week as a juvenile with murder and reckless homicide in the death of Andrew Frye, who was shot in the head with a .22-caliber rifle at the family's home south of Martinsville on June 30.

The boys’ mother, Amanda Vandagrifft, 28, was charged Wednesday with neglect of a dependent resulting in death, a Class A felony, and three counts of neglect of a dependent, a Class D felony.

Vandagrifft's boyfriend, Matthew Boulden, was charged with three counts of neglect of a dependent, Class D felonies.

According to a probable cause affidavit, authorities believe Vandagrifft and Boulden should have known better than to leave the 11-year-old boy home alone with other children because he had acted violently in the past toward his siblings.

Court documents indicate that on the day of the shooting, the 11-year-old had asked his brother to clean his room. When the 6-year-old said he wouldn't clean his room, his brother told police that he went to get a rifle with the intention of scaring the boy.

Investigators said the boy had used knives and a gun in the past to scare his brother and sister into doing their chores.

The girl told police she once stepped between her brothers, telling the 11-year-old if he was going to kill the 6-year-old, he was going to have to kill her first.

Sharon Pierce with Prevent Child Abuse Indiana said most cases of fighting between siblings are not so severe.

"We all hear stories of what our big brothers or big sisters did to us when we were young, but usually, it's a very limited amount of harm that's done," she said.

But if the 11-year-old did have such serious issues in the past, child safety experts said the adults should have taken steps to make sure he did not have access to knives and guns.

The gun used in the shooting death of Andrew Frye was wedged between a desk and a wall in Vandagrifft’s bedroom, according to court records.

"I think always, as parents, we have to be so attentive to the safety and the reality of leaving our children alone and what is accessible in our home," Pierce said.

Pierce encouraged parents to talk to their children about violence and the relationships between siblings and to not ignore warning signs of a more serious problem.

Those who suspect a child is being abused or neglected are asked to call Indiana's Child Abuse Hotline at 800-800-5556. It's available 24 hours a day and reports can be made anonymously.

Authorities have released the 11-year-old's name, but 6News' policy is to not release the name of a juvenile unless he or she has been charged as an adult.

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