UPDATE: Deplorable living conditions where Whitfield Co. baby died
By WRCB Staff
DALTON, GA (WRCB) -
UPDATE: Investigators say conditions at a Whitfield County home, where a child died last month, the conditions were extremely filthy and neglectful.
The Georgia Division of Family and Children's Services found dried fecal matter, vomit and stains on Terry Gibson's crib, where the 19-month-old was found dead on January 16th. DFACS says that they found in the refrigerator a bottle of tequila and condiments, with no visible edible food.
Law enforcement said while taking the sheets out of the crib, there were flies, dried fecal matter, and the sheets were wet. The sheets had old and new stains and there was old feces and vomit on the crib mattress. Terry's diaper was full and appeared to have been on for an extended length of time without being changed.
The mother, Tiffany Gibson, was charged with two felony counts of Cruelty to Children.
An autopsy has been completed and charges could be upgraded if the report shows the child died because of the conditions.
PREVIOUS STORY: An investigation into a child's death in Whitfield County led to the arrest of his mother.
On January 16th, 19-month old Terry Gibson was found unresponsive in his crib.
After a review of the evidence the Whitfield County District Attorney's Office decided to charge the mother, 27-year-old Tiffany Dianne Gibson, with two felony counts of Cruelty to Children.
The felony charges indicate she failed to provide adequate care for her children, ages five year old and 19 months old, to the point that she failed to provide adequate health care and sustenance, and both children’s well-being was severely compromised as a result of the neglect.
As of now, 27-year-old Tiffany Gibson is not charged in her son' death, but deputies who responded to the scene said she was living in unsanitary conditions with her two children and those poor conditions led to charges of child neglect.
The Sheriff's Office is still waiting on the little boy's autopsy to see if the living conditions inside the house played any role in the child's death.
"We're unsure if the conditions of the house and the living conditions there present contributed to the death of the infant," said Sheriff Scott Chitwood.
Gibson told investigators her son Terry was running a fever before bed. She gave him some Tylenol and the boy went back to sleep.
When she woke up the next day Terry had passed away.
Old mattresses, piles of garbage, and dirty diapers littered the front lawn. The Sheriff said it's the same kind of conditions inside.
"Don't want to get too much detail but just very heavily stained sheets, rugs, sofas and everything, stains that had been there for weeks and months it appeared," Sheriff Chitwood said.
Gibson's five-year-old also lived in the home.
The DA's office believes there's enough evidence to charge Gibson with two counts of child cruelty, regardless of her son's cause of death.
"Even probably should it not had a death, very easily these charges could have come forward if we'd been called on the scene on another incident," Chitwood said.
The Division of Family and Children's Services (DFCS) is also investigating and urges neighbors and community members to be on the lookout for any signs of possible abuse or neglect.
Georgia has an anonymous tip line specifically for child abuse or neglect: 1-855-GACHILD or 1-855-422-4453.
Calls are monitored 24/7 and every report is checked out within 72 hours of the call.
Sheriff Chitwood said the Sheriff's Office welcomes anonymous tips as well. He believes it could have made a difference in this case.
"Normal people just don't live in those type conditions. so yea, kind of follow up with your neighbor, call on any conditions that may raise question and you never know what you're going to find behind closed door," Chitwood said.
Depending on the child's autopsy, additional charges against Tiffany Gibson are possible.