‘She was an angel’ | Family remembers toddler who died after child abuse case
A 17-month-old baby died following a child abuse case in Bell County.
MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (WVLT) - A 17-month-old baby died following a child abuse case in Bell County.
On July 28, a little girl showed up at the Middlesboro ARH hospital with severe injuries. However, the child was flown out to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville due to the extent of her injuries.
Officials said medical staff tried stabilizing the baby, but she did not survive. She died on Sunday.
The baby’s family remembers her fondly. “She was an angel, and everyone loved her,” said family member Jamie Swanigan.
Officials said they have never seen a case of abuse this severe in a child this young. “This is one of the most severe cases of abuse, specifically because the baby was 17 months old,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Lisa Fugate.
Tuesday, at a vigil for the child, Fugate said “If I can seek the death penalty, you better believe I will.”
“I don’t know how a monster could do this to a child, especially a baby,” said Swanigan.
After the girl’s death, MPD began investigating who was responsible for the child’s death. Officers interviewed the child’s mother, Erica Lawson, 21, of Mt. Vernon, who was arrested in connection to the incident.
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Police said a family member reported the child was abused in early July. “There was a report made earlier. The uncle contacted us, and we could never find the kid. The uncle did not know where the kid was at the time,” said Police Chief Petie Gilbert.
MPD officials said they expect to make another arrest in the case soon.
Lawson is charged with manslaughter, failure to report child abuse, criminal abuse and wanton endangerment.
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