An Effingham County man was arrested Tuesday night after investigators say he “brutally beat” the 2-year-old daughter of his girlfriend.
The woman was arrested Wednesday on lesser charges.
Robert Edwards, 24, of Rincon was charged with aggravated assault, battery and cruelty to children after Effingham County Sheriff’s Office deputies and investigators went to 230 Holly Lane around 8 p.m. Tuesday on a report of a child being abused.
“The call came from someone inside the home that a child was being beaten in the bathroom by the boyfriend,” said ECSO spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor.
The child had injuries to her head, neck, face, torso, arms and back, Ehsanipoor said. Along with several bruises, hand marks appeared to be on the child’s body.
“This is nowhere close to just disciplining a child,” Ehsanipoor said. “This is not even close to being borderline.”
Edwards’ actions during his arrest led to additional charges of obstruction of a law enforcement officer and making terroristic threats.
“He said to one of the deputies, ‘When I get out of jail, I’m going to come to your house and kill you,’” Ehsanipoor said.
This was not Edwards’ first arrest for abusing a child. He has a lengthy criminal history, including arrests on drug, domestic violence, obstruction of an officer and cruelty to children charges.
The child was taken to Memorial Health University Medical Center for treatment. At the hospital, investigators met with the child’s mother, Sabrina Saunders, 21, of Rincon. She was at work when the child was beaten, according to the ECSO.
Saunders gave conflicting stories to investigators, Ehsanipoor said, and was charged with cruelty to children, making false statements and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
“Investigators determined that at least one of the child’s injuries occurred several days ago and that the toddler was not taken for medical treatment,” Ehsanipoor said. “The circumstances surrounding those injuries remain under investigation.”
Saunders and Edwards are being held in the Effingham County Jail. They had their first court appearance Thursday morning, and Chief Magistrate Scott Hinson set Saunders’ bond at $36,000 but denied bond for Edwards.
“There is a difference in their charges,” Ehsanipoor said. “He’s the one who beat that child that night. There’s nothing to suggest she beat the child that night.”
The Effingham County Sheriff’s Office is consulting with child abuse experts who will examine the evidence and determine if the child was abused prior to Tuesday night, Ehsanipoor said.
No further arrests are expected, but the case remains under investigation by the ECSO’s Criminal Investigations Division.
“At this time, it appears that both responsible parties are in jail,” Ehsanipoor said.