Lake Park death focuses attention on child abuse -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lake Park death focuses attention on child abuse

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

Lake Park, GA (WALB) - The death of a little girl in Lowndes County is bringing renewed attention to the problem of child abuse. 29-year-old Brandon Thompson is in jail charged with murdering his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter.

The Children's Advocacy Center of Lowndes County hopes the tragedy will shed light on child abuse and help prevent it.

More than one thousand child abuse cases in Lowndes County were reported to the Children's Advocacy Center last year. The center says child abuse occurs for many reasons.

"Lack of parenting skills and knowledge, social isolation of the parents. Maybe the parents have unmet emotional needs drug or alcohol problems," said Brenda Johnson, Children's Advocacy Center Executive Director.

In addition, crisis or a series of crises can lead to abuse. Tuesday, Lowndes County Sheriff's investigators charged 29-year-old Brandon Thompson with murdering his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter Abriana Thomas.

 "She just had a birthday September the 11th, " said Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine.

Between the evidence found in the Lake Park home and the autopsy of the child, authorities were able to make the arrest.

"Right now he is the only person in the room with the little girl at the time of the accident," Prine said.

Thompson called 911 from his home last Tuesday when Thomas wouldn't respond.  The child was unresponsive when EMTs arrived at the Lake Park home. An autopsy later revealed that the child died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Johnson points out that when a child dies this type of death it could mean the child was hit, shaken or thrown.

 "In the heat of the moment, that's why we always tell people, take a break, you know, leave the baby in the room shut the door. The baby's not going to die from crying but it will die from hitting or shaking," said Brenda Johnson.

The Sheriff's Detective Bureau is still investigating exactly what happened. Thompson is being held at the Lowndes County Jail.

Little Abriana Thomas was initially taken to south Georgia Medical Center then was airlifted to Shands hospital in Gainesville where she died last Wednesday.

The Children's Advocacy Center says parenting or caring for children can be overwhelming at times. However, it is never okay to shake or hit a child. Shaking a baby can lead to severe injury or death.

Here's how you can get help:

  • Sign up for local parenting classes
  • Call your local Children's Advocacy Center for resources,education, and information on parenting classes

In Lowndes County, call the CAC at (229) 245-5362, or DFCS at (229) 333-5200.

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