Family Crimes

Man Dies 21 Years After Enduring Horrific Abuse, Mom And Boyfriend Charged With Murder

In 1997, David Stuart was abused so badly that he needed feeding tubes and a wheelchair for the rest of his life. At age 22, prosecutors say he died as a result of the abuse, and now the people who hurt him are back in jail.

A North Carolina man who was abused as a toddler has died as a result of the suffering he endured more than two decades ago, and now his mother and her then-boyfriend are facing murder charges.

When David Stuart was just 15 months old, his mother Robyn Noffsinger and her boyfriend David Tripp put him through unspeakable abuse. In April 1997, he was taken to the hospital after enduring multiple head and brain injuries, burns and broken limbs, according to The Herald Sun in Durham County, North Carolina.

“It was a tremendous amount of head trauma,” Jon David, Brunswick County’s District Attorney, said about the injuries. “His arm was pulled in such a way that he had a spiral fracture of his arm. He was dipped in hot liquids which produced a bad burn.”

The trauma wasn’t just horrific. It was long-lasting, causing permanent damage to Stuart. He was confined to a wheelchair and required 24-hour care and feeding tubes. His growth and sight became stunted, and he was never able to speak words, according to The Herald Sun.

Both Noffsinger and Tripp were convicted of felony abuse and served about 12 years in prison.

In 1999, Stuart was adopted by a new, loving family from the metropolitan crossover area of Raleigh and Durham known as the Triangle.  Psychologists Beth Schmitt and Lori Stuart of Raleigh cherished him and gave him the best life possible. Their Facebook pages show Stuart at baseball games and on roller coasters smiling. 

“At the time the doctors thought he would live to be about 6 maybe, just because of the brain damage and the extent of that, so every year we just felt very lucky,” Schmitt told WNCN.

But, Stuart made it to age 22. Sadly, he succumbed to the injuries inflicted on him decades ago on March 6, according to prosecutors. Now, Noffsinger, now 41, and Tripp, 45, are back behind bars again in connection with Stuart’s abuse, this time on murder charges. Bond was set at $1 million each. It’s unclear if they have lawyers who can speak on their behalf at this time.

[Photo: Brunswick County Detention Center]

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