7-year-old child taken from Elizabethton woman charged with assault, neglect/abuse

John Thompson • Nov 25, 2013 at 3:56 PM

ELIZABETHTON — A woman was arrested after she allegedly assaulted the driver of a car in which she and her son were riding on Friday afternoon.

Christa L. Sams, 35, 208 Eisenhower St., was charged with reckless endangerment, aggravated child abuse and neglect, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Elizabethton Police reported two contacts with Sams within two hours on Friday. The first instance was in response to a shoplifting call at The Dollar Tree in the West Towne Plaza at 5 p.m.

Capt. Anthony Buck spoke with the manager of the store, Garland Blevins. Buck said Blevins told him he had caught Sams with several items in her purse. Buck said Blevins did not want to prosecute, but asked that he did not want Sams back inside his business.

At 6:45 p.m., police responded to an assault call in the parking lot of Prosound on West Elk Ave. Officer Sarah Ellison said when she arrived she spoke with Alexis Pilkington, who told her she was driving eastbound on Elk Avenue when Sams, sitting in the front passenger seat assaulted her. Ellison said Pilkington's face was red and swollen.

Ellison said her investigation indicated Sams had been living in a transient situation with her 7-year-old son and had been kicked out of her most recent arrangement. She said she had no place to spend the night.

Pilkington told Ellison she had gone to Johnson City to pick up the child from a relative who had been keeping him. She then drove to Beef 'O' Brady's in West Towne Shopping Center to meet Sams.

Ellison said Sams got in the passenger seat and the child was in the back seat. Pilkington said she got into a heated conversation with Sams about the welfare of the child. She told Ellison that Sams became enraged and she began hitting Pilkington in the face and began forcefully holding her against the driver's seat while screaming within inches of her face.

Pilkington said there was heavy traffic on the street at the time and it was rainy. She was able to maneuver her vehicle into the Prosound parking lot. Sams then got out of the vehicle with her child.

Ellison found Sams and the child across the street in the parking lot of Save-A-Lot grocery. During the transport to the jail, a hypodermic needle with residue was found under the seat Sams had been using.

The Department of Children's Services provided emergency custody for the child.

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