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Sword sentenced to 12 years supervised probation in death of her 3-year-old son

John Thompson • Oct 3, 2018 at 7:06 PM

ELIZABETHTON — A woman who was charged with first-degree murder in death of her 3-year-old son pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless homicide. The plea was accepted in Carter County Criminal Court on Monday.

Tabatha Michelle Sword, 36, was sentenced by Judge Stacy Street to 12 years of supervised probation with the Tennessee Department of Correction. Street ordered that in addition to complying with the instructions of her probation officer, Sword must also seek and undergo psychiatric treatment from a licensed psychiatrist.

Street also ordered that Sword must comply with all treatment recommendations of the psychiatrist, including any recommended counseling, psychotherapy or voluntary self-admission to a psychiatric facility. The judge’s order also included the requirement that Sword take as directed any medication prescribed to her by her psychiatrist. Sword was also ordered to advise any medical providers of her psychiatric condition and her prescriptions.

Sword was released from the Carter County Jail on Monday.

Assistant Public Defender Melanie Sellers represented Sword in the plea agreement. Assistant District Attorney General Janet Hardin represented the state.

Sword’s 3-year-old son, Logan Sword, drowned in Buffalo Creek on May 27, 2017. The creek ran behind her residence and the boy had been unsupervised at the time.

The incident began at 10 a.m. with a call about a missing 3-year-old. Officer Dustin Johnson of the Elizabetehton Police Department was the first officer on the scene and spoke with Sword. He quickly broadcast a description of the boy to other responding officers.

Johnson said Sword told him that about 5 to 6 minutes before calling 911 she went to the bathroom in the back bedroom. She told Johnson that before going to the bathroom, she had seen her child sleeping in his bed. Sword said she locked the screen door and shut the front door. Sword said she also pushed the edge of the couch over in front of the door so her boy could not open the door. She said she then went to the bathroom for about 2 to 4 minutes.

Johnson reported that Sword told him that when she left the bathroom she found the couch had been pushed back and the front door was open. She looked for her child inside the residence, but he was not there. She searched outside, but did not find him, so she called 911.

The responding officers searched Meadowbrook Trailer Park and surrounding areas, but the child was not found. The search quickly escalated to include other officers of the Elizabethton Police Department, Carter County Sheriff’s Department, Carter County Rescue Squad search teams, Wings Air Rescue and civilian searchers.

Elizabethton Police Officer Justin Pearce began searching Buffalo Creek. He heard a man yelling that he had found the boy. Pearce then went over to the man and found the child floating face down in the middle of the creek. Pearce recovered the boy’s body and brought him to the creek bank at 12:39 p.m.

Johnson reported that he talked with one of Sword’s neighbors, who told him that a month earlier the boy had been seen playing by the creek by himself. The neighbor said he got the boy and walked over to his residence. The neighbor said he knocked several times, but no one came to the door. The neighbor said he then opened the door and let the boy inside.

A short time later, he said he once again saw the boy playing outside by himself. He took him back to the residence, and this time Sword came to the door and said she had been asleep.

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