Crime & Courts

Iredell County couple charged with abusing baby

Samuel Brian Hancock
Samuel Brian Hancock Iredell County Sheriff’s Office

A northern Iredell County couple was arrested and jailed after their 2-month-old girl was taken to a hospital emaciated and with bruises on her face, Sheriff Darren Campbell said Tuesday.

Sheriff’s investigators charged Samuel Brian Hancock, 26, and Arlena Ritchie, 19, with child abuse-willful act or omission causing serious physical injury. Each was in the Iredell County jail Tuesday on a $200,000 bail.

The case came to light last Wednesday when staff at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center in Salisbury called the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office about the condition of the baby who’d been taken there.

The hospital reported that the child was emaciated and had bruises and marks on her face consistent with abuse, and was being transferred to Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, Campbell said.

Further medical tests revealed that besides severe malnutrition, the baby had several hairline rib fractures. Those fractures are believed to have occurred in Cabarrus County and will be investigated there, Campbell said.

An investigation by Campbell’s office showed the abuse started in late July, the sheriff said.

The Iredell County Department of Social Services also is investigating and has taken custody of the infant and another child, the sheriff said.

The infant is responding well to treatment and has been released from the hospital, Campbell said.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak