Local News

Mother Of Gaston Child Abuse Victim Seeks Custody As Authorities Investigate New Claim

Posted August 12, 2005

— The biological mother of a 4-year-old suspected child abuse victim says she will do anything to gain custody of her child and will soon begin fighting in court. Meanwhile, Gaston police say there may be another victim in the case.

Investigators say the 4-year-old girl was locked in the attic in a house on West Hill Street, was force-fed, had her face rubbed in vomit and her head flushed in a toilet. They are also investigating the possibility that there may have been sexual abuse as well.

On Monday, authorities arrested the girl's father, Daniel Gibbs; his girlfriend, Phyllis Evans; the girl's uncle, Douglas Gibbs; and grandmother, Mary Gibbs. All four are charged with felony child abuse.

"I'm scared for her," said Susan Harrison of her child, who has been placed in foster care. "She doesn't know what to expect from one day to the next."

Harrison did not live with her daughter, but says she had visitation rights.

"Every time I would go to bring her back, she would scream, cry, kick, fuss, beg me 'no' -- tell me 'no, mommy!'"

Harrison says her daughter's place is with her and she will go to court Thursday to begin her fight for custody.

"I'll fight 'til I get her back," she said. "I don't care how long or what it takes."

Although the child is doing well physically, Harrison says her daughter needs emotional support.

"I want a chance to raise my daughter the way she is supposed to be raised -- with love, care and tenderness. She needs someone to understand her, be patient with her."

Since Monday's arrests, another mother has come forward saying her 2 1/2-year-old who visited the home may also have been abused. Authorities are investigating that claim.

Besides the abuse, police say the family and dozens of pets lived in squalor not fit for humans or animals. Northampton Animal Control has removed cats and dogs from the home and is trying to place them.


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