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Beaten 17-Month-Old Dies After Vile Abuse

A mother whose 17-month-old daughter died from horrific injuries after she was beaten and raped has been seized by police in Kentucky.

Photo shows Erica Lawson after being arrested on Sunday, July 30, 2023. The Kentucky mother allegedly sexually-abused toddler that died of severe injuries at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. (Bell County Sheriff’s Office/Newsflash)

Erica Lawson’s daughter Elena died on the night of Sunday, 30th July, after being admitted to the Middlesboro ARH Hospital on 28th July with severe injuries before being flown to the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville.

Lawson – who is separated from Elena’s father – has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.

She has also been charged with first-degree criminal abuse against a child under 12 and first-degree wanton endangerment, as well as failure to report child neglect.

Police in Mount Vernon, Bell County, said they expect to make a second arrest soon.

They said that the child’s father, who has not been named, had not been charged with a crime, as of Monday afternoon, according to local media.

Jamie Swanigan, Elena’s grandfather, told local media: “She was an angel, and everyone loved her.”

Tragically relatives had earlier reported Elena to the police as a child at risk.

They said that an abuse report had been made in early July, with Police Chief Petie Gilbert adding: “There was a report made earlier.

Photo shows the 17-months old girl that died at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. The mother Erica Lawson was arrested for allegedly sexually-abusing the toddler that died of severe injuries. (@jamie.swaniganTinamason/Newsflash)

“The uncle contacted us, and we could never find the kid. The uncle did not know where the kid was at the time.”

Bell County Commonwealth Attorney Lisa Fugate said: “This is one of the most severe cases of abuse, specifically because the baby was 17 months old.

“I don’t know how a monster could do this to a child, especially a baby.”

And Caley Ayers, from the Middlesboro Police Department, said: “That somebody could be that sick out there to let this go on.

“I have seen some kids like that, but not that this age.”

Ayers also said: “The mother and father were not together. The father is not a suspect at this time, but that could change.”

Lawson was arrested on 30th July after her daughter’s death the same day.

She is currently being held on a USD 1,000,000 (GBP 779,470) bail bond at Bell County Detention Center.

A candlelit vigil is planned for this evening (Tuesday) at the City Hall in Middlesboro.

It is currently unclear who beat and raped little Elena.

The investigation is ongoing.

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