5-month-old baby found alone at home with fractured skull and broken ribs while mother went out with boyfriend
Margaritta Gabriela Deaton and her boyfriend Anthony Javon Smith Jr were arrested over the abuse of the child
WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA: A North Carolina woman has been arrested and charged after she was accused of abusing her young child and leaving him with significant injuries.
The incident came to light after Wilmington Police responded to the home of Margaritta Gabriela Deaton, 22, on the 4100 Block of Market Street last weekend over reports of a physical disturbance, according to WWAYTV.
When deputies arrived at the scene, they saw that the door was partially open and called the Department of Social Services after they found a five-month-old baby inside, completely alone without anyone looking after it.
As they waited for the DSS to come to the home, Deaton and her boyfriend, 29-year-old Anthony Javon Smith Jr, returned and claimed they had gone to the store to buy items for the baby. However, officers noted that they were empty-handed when they walked into the home.
DSS then took custody of the child, and in a medical examination, the five-month-old was found to have a spiral fracture of the upper left arm, multiple broken ribs, a fractured skull, and a previously broken wrist.
Police, who initially cited Smith Jr for possession of drug paraphernalia, subsequently obtained a warrant for his arrest. He is currently being held on a $30,000 secured bond.
Deaton's and Smith Jr's arrest comes amidst reports that domestic abuse, as well as child abuse cases, could see a spike in the US during the coronavirus pandemic.
The lockdown enforced across the country to slow the spread of the outbreak has resulted in experts expressing their worry that conditions have worsened for victims of child abuse trapped at home with their parents.
It was an issue addressed by Angelina Jolie, who shared her concern in an op-ed about how the young, in particular, are vulnerable to some of the secondary impacts of the pandemic on society.
"Of the many ways that the pandemic is making us rethink our humanity, none is more important, or urgent, than the overall protection of children," she wrote. "They may not be as susceptible to the virus as other groups, but they are especially vulnerable to so many of the secondary impacts of the pandemic on society."
She said that the economic fallout accompanying the outbreak, which has resulted in the losses of thousands of jobs, has increased the stress, pressure, and uncertainty for families which, in turn, increases the risk for domestic violence.
"In America, an estimated 1 in 15 children is exposed to intimate partner violence each year — 90% of them as eyewitnesses to the violence. An average of 137 women across the world are killed by a partner or family member every day. We will never know in how many of these cases there is a child in the next room — or in the room itself," she explained.
She also pointed out that the social distancing that has been necessary to stop Covid-19 would inadvertently result in a direct rise in trauma and suffering for vulnerable children as isolating the victim from family and friends was a well-known tactic used by abusers.