In North Carolina, Teishonna Lea Wither’s 13 month-old daughter has died this past week from severe head injuries and traumatic fractures sustained as a victim of child abuse. Both Ms. Wither and Jame Franklin Brown are charged with murder. They share a residence on Charles Boulevard in the Greenville area.
On September 7, 2008, Ms. Wither’s arrived to the Pitt County Memorial Hospital Emergency Department with her severely injured 13 month-old daughter. Hospital providers identified fractured ribs and severe head injuries. The injured baby girl immediately was placed on advanced life support.
New stories report that Ms. Wither’s daughter passed away on September 9, 2008. Child abuse reports were provided to the hospital social worker, who then made contact with the Greenville Police Department’s Special Victims Unit and the Major Crime Unit. Greenville detectives arrived to the hospital to interview the Ms. Withers and Mr. Brown. The criminal investigation revealed that allegedly Mr. Brown first lied about his identity to investigators by giving them a false name. Both are currently held without bond.
Nearly 80% of abusers deny that they abuse their victims. Abusive parents or caregivers have risk factors such as substance abuse, low self-esteem, mental or physical disability, depression, history of abuse as a child, poor coping skills, poor impulse control, history of violent behavior or history of being raised in a group setting with no positive parental role. All children are potential victims of child abuse, but the presence of these factors increase the risk for a child to be abused.
According to the CDC, 1,490 children died from abuse and neglect in the Unites States for the year 2004. This number decreased in 2005 to 1,460 deaths. Greater than 75% of these deaths occurred in children under four years of age. A total of 872,000 children were reportedly abused in that same time frame. In 2005, child protective services investigated 3.6 million cases of reported child abuse complaints, which resulted in discovery of 899,000 cases of child abuse. Higher rates of abuse occur in the African-American population at 1,950 per 100,000 children. Girls are at a higher risk to be victims of maltreatment than boys. Mothers have demonstrated a more frequent tendency to abuse and are generally younger in age than male adult abusers. However male adult abusers inflict more severe abuse outcomes.