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Parents Face Murder Charges After Abused Son Dies 21 Years Later

April 13, 2018

In 1997, 1-year-old David Cody Rhinehart from Brunswick County, North Carolina, was taken away from his parents after suffering unimaginable abuse. There aren’t words to describe the true pain and horror of all he endured, but what we do know is horrible enough.


When David was taken away from his parents, 41-year-old Robyn Noffsinger and 45-year-old David Tripp Jr., doctors were horrified at the extent of his injuries. He had a head fracture, split lower lip, and spiral fractures in the legs. That wasn’t the worst of it, however.


David had been immersed in extremely hot liquid, leaving horrific burns in the diaper area. His head had severe bruising, that could only have been caused by being squeezed extremely tightly. Doctors did not believe that David would survive past six years of age after everything he suffered.


Noffsinger and Tripp both were arrested and charged with felony abuse after the case. They served their time and were eventually released.


Two women adopted him in 1999, knowing that they would likely be saying goodbye to him soon. Beth Schmitt and Lori Elei Stuart, two psychologists, took care of David, loving him and doting on him, knowing that he would likely never progress far past an infant’s abilities. After being adopted, his name became David Elei Stuart.


David loved music, and his face would light up with a smile when his favorites came on. He went so sporting events, where he played baseball in a league for children with disabilities. His friend would push him around the bases during games.


Since his death last month at 22 years old, Noffsinger and Tripp have been arrested again, are facing first-degree murder charges. According to prosecutors, it is not unusual for a murder charge to follow in assault charges if the victim later dies as a result of those injuries.


Please pray for David’s beloved family, and for everyone who truly cared for the wonderful person he was. He will be sorely missed by all who were graced enough to know him.


This is a horrible story, and we know that sometimes we need a reminder of the good in the world at a time like this, so be sure to check out the video below!