Local News

Mother faces abuse charge in Fayetteville girl's death

Posted December 3, 2015

— The mother of a 3-year-old Fayetteville girl who died Tuesday has been charged with child abuse, police said Thursday.

The girl, whose name hasn't been released, died at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center after authorities received a report of an unresponsive child at 520 Regency Drive.

Investigators determined that the girl had been injured and charged her father, Jamarkus Meshawn Smith, 26, with felony child abuse.

On Thursday, her mother, Octavia Bennett-Smith, 27, also was charged with felony child abuse.

The couple remains in the Cumberland County jail under $1 million bonds.

The girl's death remains under investigation, and more charges are possible, police said.

Investigators also are reviewing a child death investigation from February 2014 that occurred at the house and involved Jamarkus Smith. That death was ruled to be a case of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

"Because of what we're dealing with now, we have reopened that investigation," said Capt. Laura Downing. "We will go back through that to make sure we didn't miss any criminal activity that might have taken place on that suspicious death as well."

Anyone with information about either death is asked to call Fayetteville police Detective J. Littlejohn at 910-818-3468 or Crime Stoppers at 910-483-8477.


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  • Ray Lee Smythe Dec 3, 2015
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    Shame on you NC social services!

  • Susan Harward Dec 3, 2015
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    She doesn't deserve to be called "Mother". So sorry little ones.