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Teen mother charged with two counts of child cruelty
10-month-old infant still listed in critical condition at Memorial
Tina Marie Richards
Tina Marie Richards

A Guyton mother is in Effingham County jail facing several charges of child abuse and cruelty after her arrest Monday.

Effingham sheriff’s deputies arrested Tina Marie Richards, 19, after EMS was called to her home on Old Louisville Road because her 10-month-old son was found in distress.

The baby was eventually flown by LifeStar to Memorial Health University Medical Center and is listed in critical condition.

Richards is being charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, cruelty to a child in the first degree and cruelty to a child in the second degree.

A neighbor made the 911 call after Richards came running outside the trailer with the baby in her arms, Effingham Sheriff’s Department Capt. Mike Bohannon said. Richards told deputies she had slipped and fallen while holding the baby.

But the baby’s injuries were inconsistent with her story, according to Bohannon. Sheriff’s investigators got a search warrant for the house.

Bohannon and another sheriff’s investigator searched the house while another investigator went to Memorial. They found a onesy, an infant’s one-piece attire, sewn into a crib sheet. They also found yarn and thread sewn to restrain a child’s feet.

Duct tape also was found and has been sent to the state crime lab for examination, Bohannon said. Analysts may be looking at the tape to see if it contains saliva, as though it were placed over the child’s mouth.

The sheriff’s department is still investigating the incident.