By Shelley Grieshop
A Celina woman accused of shooting her 4-year-old son with a pellet gun may now be facing felony charges.
The Mercer County Prosecutor's office is seeking to indict Martha J. Groenewoud, 22, 1211Ú2 E. Wayne St., for child endangerment, a third-degree felony, that could net her a maximum five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Groenewoud, who is free on an unsecured $100,000 bond, was initially charged with misdemeanor charges of assault and child endangerment. She pleaded not guilty to those charges in Celina Municipal Court on Jan. 9.
This week that case was dismissed from the lower court, and she was served with a felony state complaint -- a more serious charge that likely would be handled in Mercer County Common Pleas Court.
The prosecutor's office could present the case as early as today to a grand jury, who will decide whether there is enough evidence to indict Groenewoud on a felony charge. A pretrial hearing set for Wednesday morning in municipal court was canceled; Groenewoud now is scheduled to appear in that court Friday morning concerning the felony state complaint. Celina police began their investigation into the alleged abuse earlier this month after receiving an anonymous call from a female who said she witnessed Groenewoud fire a pellet gun at the boy as a form of punishment.
The caller also told police the child was underweight -- an observation officers noted after examining the boy, according to court documents.
After talking to the child and his mother, officials concluded the boy had been shot with the pellet gun on multiple occasions since November. Groenewoud reportedly confessed to the abuse during questioning.
When the child was asked what happens when he is bad, he told officials, "BB gun," court documents state.
The 4-year-old, as well as Groenewoud's two other children -- a 5-year-old daughter and a 6-month-old son -- have been removed from their mother and placed in foster care. Groenewoud was granted visitation rights.
A fourth child reportedly lives with his father.
Two air pellet guns were confiscated from Groenewoud's home including a Stinger P30 brand that is believed to be the weapon used by Groenewoud on the preschooler. The Stinger shoots 6-mm plastic pellets with a maximum velocity of 230 feet per second.
The young child, who was described by police as "shy and timid," was not treated by medical personnel for the injuries caused by the pellet gun, police said.