KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Kentucky woman has been indicted following the death of a 17-month-old girl at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital on Sunday, July 30.
Erica Lawson, of Middlesboro, Kentucky, was indicted by a Bell County Grand Jury on Aug. 22 following the death of her child, according to court paperwork.
According to Bell County Commonwealth Attorney Lisa Fugate, the child had signs of physical and sexual abuse. The child was taken to the children’s hospital on July 28, where the hospital staff attempted to save her by putting her on life support. The child died on July 30 due to the severity of her injuries.
Lawson was arrested in connection to the child’s death on July 30. She was originally charged with second-degree manslaughter, failure to report child neglect/abuse, first-degree criminal abuse against a child under 12 and first-degree wanton endangerment. Her case was bound over to a grand jury on August 8.
The recent indictment upgraded her charges to murder, failure to report child dependency neglect or abuse and wanton endangerment in the first degree.
The Department of Child Services is assisting the Middlesboro Police Department in the investigation. MPD is also gathering DNA evidence to assist officers in “bringing the culprits to justice.”