Local News

Clinton man charged with child abuse; girl critically injured

Posted January 21, 2011 10:59 a.m. EST
Updated January 21, 2011 11:04 a.m. EST

— A 3-year-old Clinton girl was in critical condition Friday, and her mother's acquaintance was behind bars, accused of child abuse. 

Sampson County sheriff's officials arrested John Troy Moore, 21, of 1296 Parker Memorial Road, after questioning him about the girl's injuries, which happened on Wednesday. 

The child's name was not released. She suffered "life-threatening traumatic brain injuries, in addition to other bodily injuries consistent with child abuse," according to the sheriff's office. 

Moore was watching the girl Wednesday at her house, 1296 Parker Memorial Road, while her mother, Marybeth Johnson, worked, investigators said. He called Johnson and said the the girl "was sick," so Johnson came home, and they took the 3-year-old to Clinton Medical Clinic.

Doctors transferred her to Sampson Regional Medical Center "due to the seriousness of her condition," investigators said. She was then transferred to UNC Hospitals, where she was in critical condition Friday. 

Sheriff's officials interviewed Moore and Johnson and notified the county Department of Social Services.

Moore was then charged with child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury, which is a felony. He was placed in the Sampson County Detention Center under a $75,000 bond. Additional charges might be filed, investigators said. 

"I realize that many citizens may have additional questions about the case or questions regarding charges," Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said in a statement. "I ask that they be patient and allow investigators to continue their work. I can assure you that we will do everything to ensure that the incident is investigated fully.”

Thornton called the incident "very tragic" and asked the public to "keep the little girl and other children who are victims of child abuse in their thoughts and prayers."