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UPDATE: 6-Year-Old Weighing Only 18 Pounds, Mother Charged; Child Doing Better

By: Anna Baxter, Kallie Cart, The Associated Press Email
By: Anna Baxter, Kallie Cart, The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 11/7/10
BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) -- Beckley police say a 6-year-old girl who weighed less than 20 pounds when she was brought to a hospital earlier this year is gaining weight.

Detective Jeff Shumate told the Associated Press that the girl has gained at least 13 pounds since entering a foster home.

The girl was unresponsive when her mother brought her to Raleigh General Hospital in early September. The mother, 41-year-old Sabrina Smith, and a 30-year-old roommate are charged with multiple counts, including child abuse with substantial injury.

Shumate says food was regularly restricted from the girl and she was held at times in a child-safety seat.

Shumate says five other children who were in the home also have been placed in foster care.

BECKLEY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A mother and a child's guardian faces several charges after a 6 year old, who only weighed around 18 pounds, was taken to the hospital.

According to Beckly Police Chief of Detectives Jeff Shumate, Sabrina Smith, 41, and Amanda Wills, 30, both of Beckley, are charged with three felony counts of child abuse with substantial injury; child neglect with substantial risk of death; and attempted murder of a child by parent, guardian or custodian by refusal or failure to supply necessities.

Smith is the child's mother. Wills lived with the family and served as the child's guardian.

The detective tells the 6-year-old was taken to Raleigh General Hospital back in September where nurses had to use a infant scale to weigh the child. The child was also unresponsive at the time.

Investigators say the child's body temperature had dropped to 80 degrees and her blood sugar was only 2. Normal blood sugar levels are between 80 and 120.

The child was in critical condition when she was taken to the hsopital, detectives say. The 6-year-old was flown to CAMC Women's and Children's where she was treated and has since been released.

The detectives say the child suffered severe bruises over a large portion of her body as well as other injuries.

The suspects admitted to restraining the child with zip ties in a car seat for long periods of time. The padding was removed from the car seat and at times she was left for more than 9 hours at a time, police say. The child also slept in the seat.

The child could speak, but never went to school. The child's mother says she was homeschooled.

Police say girl's siblings also played a role in the abuse. Detectives say food was used as a punshishment with the child, giving her little food and when she was fed it was foods she did not like. The siblings range from 13 years old to 5 years old. Police aren't sure why the girl was singled out.

The mother told police her child had a medical condition so she had to restrict her diet.

"I'm not guilty," Smith said as she was being arrested. "I love my children and if they see this I want them to know I'm going to do everything I can to get them back."

Detectives say the abuse was the most severe case they've seen in at least 20 years.

The victim has gained a significant amount of weight since she was released from the hospital, police say. She along wth her five siblings have been placed with foster families.

Smith and Wills were both arrested Tuesday in Beckley. Their bond was set at $500,000 each.

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