Mother, live-in boyfriend denied bond in "horrific" child abuse case

Published: Apr. 22, 2012 at 6:18 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 30, 2013 at 5:16 PM EDT
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Catharine Ammons and James Watson (Source: Kershaw County Sheriff)
Catharine Ammons and James Watson (Source: Kershaw County Sheriff)

LUGOFF, SC (WIS) - Bond was denied Monday afternoon for the mother and live-in boyfriend accused in a case that Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews described as "horrific."

Matthews said 24-year-old Catharine Ammons and 27-year-old James Watson of Lugoff were charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and allowing a person to afflict harm to a child.

The two were arrested by deputies after hospital officials at Kershaw Health notified law enforcement of possible child abuse.

Over several months of abuse, Sheriff Matthews says hospital officials determined Ammons' 4-year-old daughter suffered two broken arms and a broken leg.

Hospital officials contacted the Kershaw County Sheriff's Office after determining that the child's injuries were not consistent with the explanation how she received them.  Doctors determined that the injuries had occurred several months ago, and they had begun to heal without necessary medical attention at the time the injuries occurred.

In questioning with investigators, Matthews says Ammons and Watson eventually admitted abusing the little girl.  Ammons admitted she did not stop the abuse or call law enforcement.

Matthews says both also admitted they rehearsed with the victim what to say to cover up the beatings.

"I cannot imagine what this little girl went through prior to and after the beatings which broke both of her arms and a leg," said Matthews. "The pain and mental anguish she suffered had to be horrible. And to make matters even worse, neither of her caregivers sought medical help for 4-5 months. This is despicable."

The little girl is in the custody of DSS and is in an intensive care unit at an undisclosed hospital. A DSS worker told Matthews that the girl needs surgery, but she is too malnourished to have it done right now.

Ammons and Watson were originally charged with unlawful neglect toward a child, but the additional charges were filed Monday.

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