Local News

Forensic dentist: Teghan Skiba had 66 bite marks covering body

Posted March 10

— A Fayetteville dentist who examined bite marks on the body of 4-year-old Teghan Skiba in July 2010 testified Monday in the capital murder trial of her mother's boyfriend that the child had 66 bite marks covering her body that were consistent with the accused killer's teeth.

Teghan Skiba WRAL.com archive: Teghan Skiba murder case

"I had never seen a child with more injuries. I had never seen a human being with more injuries than I did on Teghan's body," said Dr. Richard Barbaro, who has specialized in the field of forensic odontology for 30 years. "I immediately said a prayer that she would die."

Johnston County prosecutors say Jonathan Richardson, 25, tortured and sexually abused the child for 10 days – while her mother was out of the state – in a shed behind his grandparents' Smithfield home before taking the girl to a local hospital on July 16, 2010.

She died three days later at UNC Hospitals from blunt force head injuries.

Barbaro told jurors he was called to the Chapel Hill hospital to examine the bite marks – many of which were well-defined and at various stages of healing – that covered her from head to toe on both her front and back sides.

The marks ranged in severity, Barbaro added, describing a "Class 1" wound as a minor bite resulting in little, if any, pain. A "Class 5" wound, he said, would rip off skin and cause "excruciating" pain.

Teghan, he said, had marks ranging from Class 2 to Class 5.

"There were bite marks with a lot of detail," Barbaro said. "The dental evidence was very, very good on the crime scene, which was Teghan's body."

Barbaro said authorities later took Richardson – charged with first-degree murder, felony child abuse, kidnapping and sexual offense – to his office for dental impressions to compare Richardson's teeth to Teghan's wounds.

"I could not exclude him," Barbaro said. "Everywhere I checked matched him point-to-point."

Defense attorneys, trying to keep their client from a possible death sentence, raised the possibility that the bite marks could have been from someone else, pointing out that Barbaro only examined a mold of Richardson's teeth.

But Barbaro said a high degree of consistency in the marks – many of them matching six to eight of Richardson's upper and lower teeth – as well as the number of them, helped him reach his conclusion.

"We had 66 bite marks," he said. "I wasn't dealing with one little bite mark or partial bite mark."

The defense says Teghan's death was partly the result of Richardson being damaged by years of child abuse at his father's hands, uncontrolled anger and untreated mental problems.

Richardson never intended to kill Teghan, and he never sexually assaulted her, the defense says, but he didn't have the parenting skills or experience to care for her. Out of anger, his attorneys say, he caused the injury that killed her.

But prosecutors say Richardson not only tortured the girl but tormented and terrorized her in the 15-foot-by 13-foot shed where they lived with Teghan's mother, Helen Reyes.

Richardson then tried to "justify and explain away" the girl's injuries, telling authorities she fell off an air mattress and bumped her head. Other excuses, the state says he gave, included Teghan having eczema and being bitten by her young cousin.

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  • randithistle2 Mar 12, 8:05 a.m.

    not that i care to see the crime scene photos, but they NEED to be shown. everyone needs to witness this girls suffering. she already had to go thru it alone the first time. and maybe the photos of her torment will raise awareness. it may cause a neighbor to check on the little kid next door. it may stop them from turning a blind eye in another case of abuse.

  • heatherbruno87 Mar 11, 4:32 p.m.

    I have to question the grandparents to. Im not sure how far away the shed or barn was to the house but what kind of grandparents would allow a child to live in a condition such as this? No bathroom, running water, electricity,etc... I know they mentioned they were scared of him but that is when you call the police and have them take care of it.

  • brandy213122 Mar 11, 1:22 p.m.

    Please leave the geandparents alone. Law enforcement has already ruled them out. There is a alid... View More

    — Posted by jetset

    Let me ask you this, if your claim is that these people are so "Great", would you leave your young children/grandchildren alone with them??

  • scubagirl2 Mar 11, 12:31 p.m.

    Please don't call him an animal. Many dogs have spent cold nights outside, protecting children... View More

    — Posted by NC Reader

    you are correct....he is a barbaric scumbag.

  • karenlaurent Mar 11, 12:29 p.m.

    This so called human being is a monster!!!! Send him to prison and let the inmates punish him..amazes me what kind of a mother leaves her child with a random boyfriend! Where was her family? This poor little girl suffered an incredible amount of pain for no reason..I pray this animal rots in hell!! No mercy for him or the childs mother!!

  • Bellar1 Mar 11, 12:22 p.m.

    Does anyone know what is going on with the mother? Has she been charged with anything?

    — Posted by ziva

    According to 2010 reports, she was released on bond and has not been tried.

  • corgimom06 Mar 11, 11:48 a.m.

    These is not punishment bad enough for this monster. This whole story just breaks my heart and makes me sick.

  • mike275132 Mar 11, 11:01 a.m.

    "Richardson not only tortured the girl but tormented and terrorized her in the 15-foot-by 13-foot shed where they lived with Teghan's mother, Helen Reyes"

    So Richardson, the "Boyfriend" of the mother, tortures and kills an innocent child.Where was the mother ? Biological Father ? Other relatives ?

    Another fine NC Citizen......

  • Deb1003 Mar 11, 11:00 a.m.

    I think it's pretty sick that this dentist prayed for the girl's death.

    — Posted by lynne0312

    If you've read any of the articles detailing the extent of her injuries, you might not feel that way. She also had severe head trauma, cuts, bruises and bite marks all over her body, most of the wounds were infected. I believe professionals that witness this extent of torture, when they know there's no way the victim will survive them, do pray for their passing. I see it as compassion.

  • Deb1003 Mar 11, 10:53 a.m.

    How very sad, all that Teghan endured by this man. No wonder so many witnessed have cried during their testimony. If I was on that jury, I would've cried also. May she RIP now that she's no longer in pain and away from her abusers.

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