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North Carolina parents charged in death of one-year-old daughter who was found in 'unspeakable' condition

Jonathan Blake Barton, 17, and Sarah Hardin, 25, have both been charged with felony child abuse inflicting serious injury.
UPDATED JUL 17, 2019

The parents of a North Carolina infant who was in an "unspeakable" state when she died a week ago have been arrested and charged in connection to her death.

The abuse of the infant, identified as one-year-old Jadalynn Barton, came to light when deputies from the Robeson County Sheriff's Office responded to the Southeastern Medical Center at 11:59 pm on Tuesday, July 9, in response to the child being unresponsive, according to a press release

Jadalyn had been transported to the hospital by her parents, Jonathan Blake Barton, 17, and Sarah Hardin, 25, and was found to have multiple bruises on her body. She was pronounced dead shortly after. 

The condition of the infant was reportedly so horrific that Sheriff Burnis Wilkins refused to detail it and just called it "unspeakable."

"This is such a troubling case that no one would want to imagine," he said. "The condition of this innocent infant is unspeakable and was really difficult for our investigators. As the investigation continues all I can do is ask for the county to pray."

After an autopsy was performed on the infant by the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office, Barton, of South Forty Drive, was arrested at his residence by RCSO Homicide and Juvenile Divisions investigators on July 11 at around 4:45 pm.

The next day, on Friday, July 12, Hardin was also arrested by RCSO Homicide and Juvenile Divisions investigators.

Sheriff Burnis Wilkins described Jadalyn's condition as "unspeakable" (Source: GoFundMe)

Barton was charged with first-degree murder and felony child abuse inflicting serious injury in connection to his daughter's death. He was initially being held without bond but later saw it set at $3 million after his first court appearance because he is still a juvenile.

Hardin was charged with felony child abuse inflicting serious injury and was being held in the Robeson County Detention Center with a $1.5 million bond. After her first court appearance, a judge raised the bond to $5 million.

A GoFundMe page set up to cover Jadalyn's burial costs which has since been deleted read, "Jadalynn passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. This is an unthinkable tragedy. She leaves behind many relatives and friends to cherish her memory."

"Although our family is heartbroken, we know that heaven rejoiced to receive our precious Jadalynn," it continued. "All donations will be used for the burial expenses for Jadalynn. Please continue to keep our family in your thoughts and prayers."

In a statement released to ABC, the family said they were "devastated to learn that both parents had been arrested in connection to Jadalyn’s death" and that their "grief cannot be put into words."

They said they had "faith that the criminal justice system will prevail and justice will be served," and that "there will never be a day that we are not grieving for Jadalyn."

Anyone with further information on the case has been advised to contact the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office at (910) 671-3100 or (910) 671-3170.