Merriam couple faces first degree murder charges in death of child

Merriam murder

A Merriam couple have been charged with first degree murder in the death of a child last November. Jean Pierre Morales, 26, and Shelly Vallejo, 29, are also charged with aggravated endangerment of a child and felony possession of fentanyl. Photo credit Alejandro Mejía Greene used under Creative Commons license.

A Merriam couple are set to appear in Johnson County District Court again Thursday, April 8, on murder charges related to the death of a child late last year.

Jean Pierre Morales, 26, and Shelly Vallejo, 29, both made their first court appearance Friday.

The pair are both charged with one count each of first degree murder, aggravated endangering of a child and possession of a controlled substance.

Court documents show the alleged incident took place around Nov. 14, 2020. At the time, the couple’s address was at a home near 53rd and Switzer in Merriam.

Jean Morales (left) and Shelly Vallejo remain in custody at the Johnson County Detention Center, each on $1 million bond. Images courtesy Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

Morales and Vallejo were taken into custody last week at a home just a few blocks away along Mastin Street in Shawnee. Court records indicate Vallejo’s parents live at the Shawnee address.

Charging sheets for the couple do not specify how the child died but say Vallejo and Morales “did then and there kill a human being … in the commission of an inherently dangerous felony.”

The charging sheets also say the pair “did [sic] unlawfully, feloniously, and recklessly cause or permit a child under the age of 18 years … to be placed in a situation in which the child’s life, body or health is endangered.”

The charging sheet identifies the controlled substance that Vallejo and Morales were allegedly found to be in possession of as fentanyl.

Both remain in custody at the Johnson County Jail in Olathe. Bond has been set at $1 million for each.

Their next court appearance is a scheduling hearing set for Thursday, April 8.