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Sampson woman charged with torturing granddaughter

Posted February 24, 2011
Updated February 25, 2011

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— A Sampson County woman has been arrested on charges that she physically abused her 8-year-old granddaughter over a prolonged period, authorities said Thursday.

Veletta Wilkins Edwards, 55, of 167 Seven Eagles Lane in Clinton, was charged Wednesday with various offenses, including child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She was being held in the Sampson County Detention Center under a $410,000 bond.

"She says she was a minister. It's just hard to believe," neighbor Douglas Ammons said Thursday.

Edwards had two granddaughters, ages 8 and 9, living with her for more than a year, and she home-schooled them, so they had no outside contact, said Capt. Eric Pope of the Sampson County Sheriff's Office.

Pope said the house was more like a torture chamber for the 8-year-old. She was locked in a room for days at a time with no food and no bed and only a bucket for a toilet, was beaten with tools and was forced to sit in scalding water as punishment, he said.

"(She had) scars. There were burns that had not been treated (and) were infected," he said. "The grandmother was taking a tool and inflicting serious injury on her body."

When relatives visited the house for Christmas, they noticed the girl's injuries and tipped off authorities, Pope said. The county Department of Social Services immediately placed the two girls into protective custody and asked the sheriff's office to investigate.

Investigators found no evidence that the 9-year-old girl had been abused. The younger girl had to be treated at Sampson Regional Medical Center.

"Her resiliency is amazing, for her to have experienced what she did,” Pope said. “My investigator stated that she was just a joyous and wonderful child.”

Juanita Jacobs and her son Shane, who live next door to Edwards, said she led religious services in her home and called herself a prophet. Edwards' home has a sign by the front door that says "Christ Project."

"I know that she was brought into the neighborhood to help build a church," Juanita Jacobs said.

Some neighbors said they suspect Edwards is in a cult, noting that the people who attended her gatherings wore only white clothes.

"She established herself as a religious figure, always talking about Christ," Shane Jacobs said. "People can (now) see her for what she really is, and that was not a lady of God.”

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  • sarahsoandso Mar 3, 2011

    larterl...Are you saying this woman isn't a Christian? Seems like that's mighty arrogant of you. I'm pretty sure that's up to your god to decide. Remember, just because Christians commit horrific, awful acts your Jesus still loves them and if they're invited him into their little hearts they still get to go to 'heaven'. What an awesome religion! (*sarcasm)

  • bonitasalsera Feb 28, 2011

    OMG can yah stop it with this religion stuff? U think when is time for justice that they will make their decisions based on the religion? Come on people. What we see is a crazy woman that abused an innocent child HER OWN BLOOD. i dont care about this religion junk. What do u have to say about all the other parents that hurt or kill their own kids? what about these sick men that like to rape and kill little girls? Is that also part of a religion? GIVE ME A BREAK. these are sick people that deserve the worst of the punishments!

  • wildcat Feb 25, 2011

    She should have been charged. What a disgrace she was and yet she was a grandmother for heavens sake. Wonder why she made difference in the children? Now she will never have the children in her care. Serves her right.

  • wayneboyd Feb 25, 2011

    Amen catchfinally!!

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Feb 25, 2011

    The Bible also states that if you Don't discipline your child, you hate them.

    Discipline isn't always spanking. Judging from the disruptive attitudes in public schools, I'd say most of the parents who don't spank their children must hate them because the vast majority are undisciplined.

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Feb 25, 2011

    hereandnow, you need some medicine.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 25, 2011

    For those who don’t read much, here’s a New Test. passage cited as justification for physical punishment of children

    Hebrews 12:6-7: "...the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?"

    Others:

    Prov 23:14: "Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (Shoel)."

    Prov 13:24: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (diligently)."

    Prov 19:18: "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying."

    Prov 22:15: "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."

    Prov 23:13: "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die."

    Prov 29:15: "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

    Etc.

  • familytime Feb 25, 2011

    This monster was NOT homeschooling. Her grandchildren were truant! If I, as a citizen, can check the state database and see that, there is no excuse on this earth for Capt Pope of the Sheriff's office to say that or for the reporter to include it unchallenged. This kind of sloppiness is a bad reflection on legitimate homeschoolers who comply with the law and encourages those who are allowing their children to be truant to think they'll be able to hide behind saying they are homeschoolers.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 25, 2011

    @catchfinally, how about not attacking me (Ad Hominem) and, instead, actually addressing the fact that this woman is a devout follower and even leader of her religion and this same religious doctrine commands her to beat children?

  • bmg379 Feb 25, 2011

    Juanita Jacobs and her son Shane, who live next door to Edwards, said she led religious services in her home and called herself a prophet. Edwards' home has a sign by the front door that says "Christ Project."

    "I know that she was brought into the neighborhood to help build a church," Juanita Jacobs said.

    Some neighbors said they suspect Edwards is in a cult, noting that the people who attended her gatherings wore only white clothes.

    their koolaid just wasn't good enoiugh

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