Child dies in Johnston County torture case
Posted July 19, 2010 9:40 p.m. EDT
Updated July 20, 2010 6:39 a.m. EDT
Smithfield, N.C. — A 4-year-old girl who was severely beaten and tortured in Johnston County died from her injuries Monday evening, Johnston County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Tammy Amaon said.
Hospital workers contacted law enforcement authorities Friday after discovering Teghan Alyssa Skiba had cuts, lacerations, bite marks and signs of sexual assault, Sheriff Steve Bizzell said.
Teghan was taken to Johnston Medical Center by Jonathan Douglas Richardson, who claimed the girl had fallen off a bed. Teghan, who also suffered severe head trauma, was transferred to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill where she later died, Amaon said.
Upon Teghan’s death, authorities charged Richardson, 21, of Old Sanders Road, with first-degree murder. He was already facing a felony child abuse charge.
Authorities haven't said how long Teghan was in Richardson's care, but arrest warrants indicate the dates of the offense from July 14-16.
Bizzell said the girl's mother had been away for military training but had since returned to be with her daughter.
"A community came to love a little girl that they didn't even know who was a victim of domestic violence, a senseless act," Bizzell told WRAL News Monday evening. "We are just heartbroken and sad."
The investigation into Teghan's death is ongoing and others may be indicted in the case, Bizzell said.
"This is the worst case of child abuse that we have ever seen," the sheriff added. "Stuff like this is not supposed to happen."
An autopsy will be performed on Teghan's body at the Office of the State Chief Medical Examiner in Chapel Hill.
Bizzell also said Richardson showed no remorse when he learned of the girl's death. Richardson was being held in the Johnston County jail without bond. He is due in court Tuesday.