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Judge hears about child’s injuries in abuse case

July 25th, 2011 11:22 pm by Becky Campbell

A woman accused of failing to provide proper medical care for a child in her custody heard evidence Monday that a judge will consider when sentencing her.
The probation hearing for Tammy Elliott, 38, provided information for Washington County Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp to aid him in deciding how much more time Elliott will spend in jail.
She pleaded guilty in June to attempted aggravated child neglect and received an eight-year sentence. The hearing Monday was to determine if Elliott will be released on probation, but Cupp said he wanted more time to review the child’s medical records before he makes a decision.
Elliott was arrested 13 months ago after relinquishing custody of her 5-year-old niece, who had several injuries that had not been treated by a doctor.
One injury was so severe that the cartilage and skin covering her nasal septum was gone. The girl told a nurse at the Johnson City Medical Center that her aunt said it was caused by the girl picking her nose.
A letter from a plastic surgeon that Assistant District Attorney Erin McArdle presented to the judge Monday indicated it was unlikely the damage to the girl’s nose could have been caused from her picking her nose.
In Elliott’s statement to Washington County Sheriff’s Investigator Sgt. Sammy Phillips, she said her niece picked at the scab on her nose constantly and it never healed despite Elliott’s attempts to disinfect it and keep it clean.
She told Phillips that another injury to the girl’s ear was inflicted by the child herself when she got a razor to “shave like Uncle Bill.”
Elliott’s attorney, Jim Lonon, reminded Cupp that the case was prosecuted as a failure to seek medical care as opposed to Elliott being accused of inflicting the injuries.
Lonon said there were many people living in Elliott’s home during the time the girl lived there.
A JCMC nurse, Tessa Proffitt, testified that when she documented the girl’s injuries, the child was very hungry and wanted to take food with her because there wasn’t enough at home for her and her younger sister.
Proffitt said the 5-year-old was small for her age and was losing her hair, thin and brittle, on the back of her head, which caused the nurse to believe the child was malnourished.
The girl’s injuries came to light when Elliott, who had custody because the child’s mother was in jail, took her to the Department of Children’s Services to give up custody because she couldn’t take care of her any longer. The girl is now in the custody of another aunt.
Cupp will make a decision about probation for Elliott on Aug. 9.

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