'I felt like he was with me': Sister's video helps reopen Baby Joey's cold case

News-DemocratSeptember 14, 2013 

Deceased baby Joey Abernathy's sister, who made a YouTube video that led to an arrest of a suspect in the case, said she feels "a connection" to her brother.

"Ever since I was a child, I felt a connection to him," said Abernathy's sister, Beth Stauffer, of Arkansas. "I felt like he was with me. He's my brother. We have the same blood in our veins."

Stauffer said she's known since her childhood that she had a brother who died.

"When I was little, someone told me that he had been killed. When I was an adult, my mother sat me down and told me what had happened," she said.

Stauffer said her mother, who has carried a picture of Joey in her wallet for 40 years, recently decided she wanted authorities to take a second look at the case.

"My mom called me and told me that she wanted to get the case reopened. So, I made the video with her permission to get the state's attorney to reopen it," Stauffer said.

In the video, which is set to music, Stauffer holds pictures of the boy and notecards. On the notecards is written a history of the case and a plea for authorities to take action.

One notecard states that Stauffer's mother was "very scared" at the time of the child's death and went into hiding. Another notecard states that "the man who killed my brother made several attempts to kill my mother, too."

The video can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=941j7u2FV48&feature=youtu.be

St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson said the video prompted him to reopen the investigation.

The suspect, 62-year-old Gary Warwick of Portage, Ind., resided in the home with Joey at the time, but was not related to the child, according to authorities.

"This was a big step toward justice, but it is bittersweet," Stauffer said. "I know in my heart one day that I will meet Joey."

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