Mother Of Murdered Child Charged - WNCN: News, Weather

Mother Of Murdered Child Charged

By Brian Sasser

A mother knew her daughter had been abused by a man before she left the 4-year-old in his care while she went to military training, authorities said Thursday.

Helen Reyes, 27, of Raleigh was charged with negligent child abuse causing serious bodily injury. Her daughter, Teghan Skiba, died July 19 at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. She had cuts, lacerations, bite marks, head trauma and sexual assault injuries, authorities said.

Reyes "had first-hand knowledge that this type of abuse had occurred prior to July 5 by Jonathan Richardson," the arrest warrant states.

Reyes left for military training in New Mexico on July 6. Richardson faces first-degree murder charges in the child's death.

The warrant also states that Reyes subjected her daughter to "verbal threats, intimidation, forced consumption of alcohol, severe physical beatings and assault by biting."

The three had been living in a barn behind the home of Richardson's grandparents, Wade and Helen Creech, near Smithfield. The barn had no bathroom, no running water and a single air mattress on the floor for sleeping, Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said.

A Johnston County magistrate set Reyes' bond at $50,000 bond. It wasn't immediately clear if she has an attorney.

Wake County Human Services said in a report Wednesday that Reyes failed "to protect her child and to entrust her child to an appropriate caretaker."

Social workers substantiated that Reyes abused the girl by leaving her in Richardson's custody.

"The finding concerning Ms. Reyes does not mean that she personally inflicted injuries on Teghan," the report stated. "The definition of abuse in (state law) includes creating or allowing to be created a substantial risk of serious physical injury by other than accidental means."

Richardson, who initially told hospital workers that Teghan had fallen off the bed, later told Johnston County investigators that he whipped the girl with a cord after she went to the bathroom in the bed they were share, according to search warrants.

He explained that he is "bipolar and little things set him off."

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