ALBANY, GA (WALB) – New information on how a two year old Baconton girl was murdered in April.
The details came out Wednesday during a committal hearing for her accused killer, 30 year old Thomas Darling. He's charged with murder and child cruelty in the death of Lila Grayce Lyons while he was babysitting for her. @
The Wednesday morning hearing lasted just short of two hours, with testimony from the GBI and the District Attorney's Investigator. It was testimony that left Thomas Darling at times in tears. @
Thirty year old Thomas Darling wiped tears from his eyes as investigators from the GBI and District Attorney's office laid out their case against him. While questioning Darling he told investigators he'd gone to the restroom around 6:00 Friday morning and when he heard Lila Grayce crying came back into the room to find her on the floor. Darling claims he bent down to help her. Investigators don't believe that.
"When he went to the child he basically dropped a knee thrust on the child's abdomen when he was going to the child," said GBI Special Agent Bryan Smith.
The blow was so severe the District Attorney's investigator explained it tore the little girl's liver in two.
"With the exception of a three-eighths inch piece of tissue it was severed in half," said District Attorney Investigator Miles O'Quinn.
The medical examiner raised questions with Darling's story.
"The doctor felt that the force would have be caused at a more precise point as opposed to a larger area, a knee, is a round surface, there's not necessarily a point there," said Smith.
Other injuries were found on the top of the child's head.
"For the size of a two year olds head it was a large bruise," said O'Quinn.
Investigators also explained her lips and tongue were also torn along with the skin that connects the lips to the gums, something that would have taken a hard hit, a heavy fall, or...
"To actually hold someone by the mouth, hand over the mouth pressing down with force and twisting back and forth would tear it," said O'Quinn.
Darling claims Lila Grayce fell off the bed. The homeowner's daughter told investigators she was awakened by the girl's cries and then a blood curdling scream. It will now be up to the grand jury to decide if the charges against Darling will be upheld.
The girl's mother and family members were in court Wednesday and left the courtroom in tears. They refused our requests for interviews.
Investigators found a small amount of marijuana and cocaine in the bedroom and in Darling's pants pocket. Blood tests revealed he did have marijuana in his system. He also faces one count each for possession of marijuana and cocaine.