4-Year-Old Torture Victim Dies; Suspect Faces More Charges - WNCN: News, Weather

4-Year-Old Torture Victim Dies; Suspect Faces More Charges

By Justin Moss

A 4-year-old girl died Monday after a man allegedly sexually abused and tortured her in Johnston County.

The Johnston County Sheriff's Office said Teghan Skiba died Monday at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill as a result of "severe bodily injuries" sustained July 16.

Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said Jonathan Richardson, 21, brought Teghan to the hospital Friday night claiming she had fallen out of bed. Personnel from Johnston Medical Center, however, contacted police after discovering Teghan had bite marks, cuts, severe head trauma and appeared to have been tortured and sexually assaulted. She was then transported the UNC Hospitals.

As a result, Richardson was arrested Friday on a felony child abuse charge.

"Over this past weekend, a community, law enforcement officers, doctors, nurses, and medical staff came to love a little four year old girl, Teghan Skiba, who was a victim of child abuse," Bizzell said.

Richardson now faces a first degree murder charge and is being held without bond in Johnston County Jail.

Bizzell said Richardson was dating the girl's mother, Helen Reyes, who left the girl in Richardson's care earlier this month when she left for military training. The girl and her mother recently moved in with Richardson into a barn on his grandparents' property in Smithfield. Bizzell said the barn had no running water.

He also said Reyes told authorities she was scared of Richardson.

"There's a lot that is unanswered," Bizzell said Monday. "The investigation is definitely ongoing with the possibility of additional charges and additional individuals being charged."

Bizzell said the Wake County Department of Social Services is also involved in the investigation because the girl and her mother had recently lived there with the girl's grandmother.

Bizzell said it's also possible Richardson could face additional charges in the case. He also added the grandparents apparently had no knowledge of what was happening on their property. Richardson's grandmother declined to comment on Saturday and asked that the family have privacy.

Teghan was described as "a very energetic, vivacious and lovable child."

Bizzell said, "This violent act against her has reminded all of us just how precious our children are."

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