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Couple charged in "severe" child abuse case

September 24th, 2013 4:53 pm by Becky Campbell

Couple charged in "severe" child abuse case

Joe and Charlotte Whitaker


Assistant District Attorney General Erin McArdle said a 7-month old child has some of the most severe head injuries that didn’t end in death that the examining doctor has seen.


Joe Whitaker, 41, and Charolotte Whitaker, 32, were indicted earlier this month on charges of aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect. The warrants were served on the couple last week, and they have each posted a $100,000 bond.


According to McArdle, young Jaden Whitaker was taken to a local hospital in mid-August because Joe Whitaker said the boy wasn’t acting right.


At the emergency room, physicians discovered signs of child abuse and determined Jaden had “severe head injuries,” McArdle said.


“Because of the nature of the injuries the child had to be taken to Children’s Hospital in Knoxville for more specialized care,” McArdle said.


A more in-depth examination revealed a broken bone in Jaden’s leg that had already started to heal.


The head injuries occurred within the 48 hours prior to Jaden initially being taken to the hospital and the leg break was about a week old, McArdle said.


“It’s consistent with a traumatic injury (but) we don’t know how it happened,” she said.


Joe Whitaker is apparently a stay-at-home dad while Charlotte Whitaker works full time. The couple also has two older children.


McArdle said both parents had access to their son in the 48 hours prior to his injuries being discovered.


“From what the doctors are telling me, this is one of the most severe head injuries they’ve seen that did not result in death,” McArdle said.


The Whitakers are scheduled for a court hearing Nov. 18.


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