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Child abuse case lands Lugoff couple in jail

Posted: April 22, 2012 2:32 p.m.
Updated: April 23, 2012 5:00 a.m.

A woman and her live in boyfriend are in jail after Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) investigators determined that the woman’s 4 year old daughter had been physically abused so severely that both of her arms and one of her legs were broken.

Catharine Ammons, age 24, and James Watson, age 27, both of Lugoff were arrested by KCSO investigators after medical officials at Kershaw Health determined that Ammons’ 4 year old daughter suffered from two broken arms and a broken leg following severe physical abuse over several months.

Hospital officials contacted the KCSO following an examination of the small child in which they determined that her injuries were not consistent with the explanation as to why the little girl was in the hospital.

Physicians determined that there was sufficient reason to believe that the injuries had occurred several months prior and that they were already beginning to heal without the benefit of medical attention.

KCSO investigators interviewed Ammons and Watson who eventually admitted to not only abusing the child, but also in the case of Ammons, not stopping the abuse or alerting authorities. They also admitted that they had rehearsed with the little girl what to say to cover up the beatings.

Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews said that his investigators were particularly disturbed at what they learned during their investigation of the incident.

“I cannot imagine what this little girl went through prior to and after the beatings which broke both of her arms and a leg. The pain and mental anguish she suffered had to be horrible and to make matters even worse, neither of her caregivers sought medical help for four to five months. This is despicable,” said Matthews.

The child is currently in the custody of the S.C. Department of Social Services (DSS) and is in an intensive care unit at an undisclosed hospital. Matthews said he was informed Sunday that a DSS case worker spent the night in the hospital with the little girl. The girl needs surgery, but is too malnourished to undergo the treatment at this time.

"I was also advised that the DSS case workers who handled this were particularly disturbed by what they saw,” said Matthews.

According to the KCSO, Ammons and Watson are initially being charged with Unlawful Neglect Toward a Child, but it is likely that additional charges will be filed. Both are being detained at the Kershaw County Detention Center. A bond hearing is scheduled to be held today.

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