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Deceased Baby's Father Was Man Found Dead in Etowah River

The child's mother and her boyfriend were jailed after an exam revealed numerous injuries of alleged abuse, according to Bartow County authorities.

This photo was uploaded to Brandy Boyd's Facebook page on Aug. 1, 2013. Photo: Facebook
This photo was uploaded to Brandy Boyd's Facebook page on Aug. 1, 2013. Photo: Facebook
The father of the 1-year-old child who was declared deceased Thursday in the emergency room of Cartersville Medical Center was found dead last year after missing for more than a month.

Bartow County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Jonathan Rogers confirmed Richard "Blake" Cowart, who was 28, fathered the child with Brandy Ann Boyd, 25.

Boyd and her boyfriend, Austin Levi Payne, 24, were jailed late Thursday after the child, a girl, was taken to the hospital, reportedly was not breathing. An examination revealed she had sustained numerous injuries of alleged abuse, Sheriff Clark Millsap said in a press release.

Cowart, who suffered from the effects of a brain injury, which included short-term memory loss, confusion and seizures, was reported missing by his girlfriend, apparently Boyd, the morning of April 4, 2013. The girlfriend told authorities Cowart had not been taking his seizure medication and had been smoking "Spice" throughout the prior month. His sister told deputies he had been up for several days, possibly under the influence of illegal drugs.

His body was found by a fisherman May 7, 2013, in the Etowah River. The couple had lived at 891 Harding Bridge Road, which is about 15 yards from the river, according to authorities.

Rogers said investigators at this point are not looking into any connection between Cowart's death and the death of the child.  

Boyd, who graduated from Cass High School and studied at Kennesaw State University, has a daughter named Journey Ann Cowart, according to her Facebook page, which contains several photos of a baby girl. The last photo of the child uploaded to her Facebook page was posted Sept. 7, 2013.

Payne's Facebook page indicates he's interested in boxing and attended Adairsville High School. He changed his relationship status Oct. 24, 2013, to indicate he was devoted to Boyd. His status update that day reads, "LOVE MY LIFE WITH THE LOVE OF MY LIFE."

Four days later on Oct. 28, 2013, Payne posted two additional status updates:
"started my new job today happy to be working" and "missing my girls hate leaving them home alone."

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meta town January 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM
What a sad story for everyone involved, such a waste of young lives
HometownGirl January 25, 2014 at 01:43 PM
Are they sure the man's death was an accident? As in, have they ruled out fool play, altogether?
Kim Jacobson January 25, 2014 at 06:56 PM
HometownGirl I would hope that they would reopen that case now!!!
Jodell Jean Mizell January 25, 2014 at 10:22 PM
I think this needs to be looked at again sounds fishy. So sad
Elizabeth Elizabeth January 27, 2014 at 10:11 AM
Wow, what an EXTRAORDINARY coincidence. It goes to show that children rarely stand a chance in situations involving drug use and uneducated boyfriends.... Looks like this time the child's father met an untimely end also. I am not buying that he had a seizure and fell in the water...unlikely.

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