A man and two women in Georgia were arrested last week after authorities found a 3-year-old near death from ingesting a fatal amount of fentanyl and a 1-year-old who appeared to have been burned with a grill and was drinking from a bottle filled with live maggots. Matthew Moss and Talethea Browman, the children’s parents, along with Aisha Bartley, were taken into custody on Friday and charged with a spate of felonies, jail records reviewed by Law&Crime show.
All three defendants were charged with second-degree cruelty to children. Moss, 41, and Browman, 34, were also charged with first-degree cruelty to children and deprivation of a minor, while Bartley, 31, is facing one count each for possessing synthetic narcotics, cocaine, heroin, and oxycodone. The nature of Bartley’s relationship with the other defendants was not immediately clear.
According to an incident report obtained by The Augusta Press, deputies with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Medical Services personnel on the night of Aug. 17 responded to a call in reference to an unresponsive 3-year-old girl at a residence located in the 2100 block of Howard Drive in Augusta. Upon arriving at the scene, first responders located the 3-year-old in a “semi-lucid and semi-conscious” state and dosed the child with NARCAN, a drug that rapidly reverses opioid overdoses.
The child was then transported to the hospital where she was reportedly given a second dose of NARCAN and admitted to the facility in critical condition. A test of the child’s urine and blood came up positive for fentanyl, Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB-TV reported.
While authorities were still at the home, a sheriff’s deputy discovered a 1-year-old child who appeared to have sustained burns to his back, arms, and hands, per WSB.
“Deputies and EMS observed [the child] had visible burns on his arms and hands, as well as his back that were in a distinct pattern (Such as an iron or grill pan/grate),” police reportedly wrote.
The 1-year-old was also transported to the hospital for treatment where the medical staff reportedly found “live maggots” in the bottle from which the child had been drinking.
The home itself was reportedly in decrepit condition, with no running toilets, exposed live wires, several buckets of human waste, insect-infested food, and drug paraphernalia throughout, per the Augusta Press. Dangerous chemicals were also reportedly being stored right next to the baby formula and there were human feces and roaches throughout the home.
Authorities reportedly said they were unable to find a single suitable area for a child to sleep, despite the fact that there were four children in the home. The other two children, an 8-year-old and a 5-month-old, were removed from the home and taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
In addition to the aforementioned charges, Moss was also charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. The Augusta Press reported that he previously served prison time after being convicted of armed robbery in 2004 and on drug charges in 2011.
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