Delores Geddie, 57, of 801 S. Ellis Ave. in Dunn, was charged Monday with two counts of child abuse and was released after posting a $250,000 bond.
Harnett Primary School teachers and administrators reported suspected abuse to social service workers recently after a 7-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl showed up at school with deep bruises.
"They had belt marks on their back (and) on their arms, and the little boy had a belt mark on his face and nose," Dunn Police Chief B.P. Jones said.
Jones said the children's wounds didn't bleed but were severe enough to leave the imprint of a belt buckle on the skin.
"It was obviously excessive," he said. "I said, 'I don't know who did this, but they need to be arrested.'"
Geddie said she was under tremendous stress following the death of her aunt, and she simply lost her temper when the children acted out.
"She just lost it. That's what she told the investigator," Jones said.
Carolyn Bell, who lives nearby, said she was shocked to hear about the abuse allegation.
"Kids are innocent. They don't need all that," Bell said.
Geddie said she adopted the children, along with their 5-year-old brother, five years ago because she wanted to keep them together.
The two who were injured are staying with Geddie's mother; Geddie is prohibited from seeing them as a condition of her bond. But Geddie retains custody of their brother, who is in a wheelchair.
Department of Social Services workers don't comment on cases, and Jones said he didn't know why the boy was left in Geddie's care.
Geddie said she loves all three of the children and said she knows that her actions could cost her everything.
"I'd hate to be the child that got beat that bad and have to go back to that house to the same person again," Jones said.
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