Journey Ann Cowart was declared dead Thursday after her mother, Brandy Ann Boyd, 25, and the mom's boyfriend, Austin Levi Payne, 24, took her to the emergency room at Cartersville Medical Center. The child, who turned 1 on Jan. 10, according to Bartow County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Jonathan Rogers, reportedly was not breathing when they arrived.
More than 100 people attended a vigil held Sunday night for Journey at Cartersville Medical Center, according to CBS Atlanta. Dozens held candles and said prayers in memory of the girl, WSB-TV reports.
Hunt and her husband, Allen Hunt, told CBS they previously had seen bruises on the child and questioned Boyd.
"(Boyd) explained it away, said she fell and hit her head on the bed," Allen Hunt told CBS.
"I don't know how you get to the place of forgiveness for something so evil," Mellodie Hunt told the station. "If I did not have my faith in Jesus Christ I would not make it. This is horrible."
Rogers said authorities are not releasing information on Journey's injuries until the final autopsy is complete, but noted the child had not been deceased for a period of time prior to the emergency room visit.
Boyd and Payne were jailed Thursday on aggravated battery and first-degree cruelty to children charges. They'll "very likely" face homicide charges when the autopsy is complete, which is expected by Tuesday, Rogers said.
The couple and the little girl were living together in an apartment on Grandview Court off Grassdale Road, Rogers said. Payne was employed and Boyd was not working.
Authorities searched the home, but Rogers declined to detail what was found. He said at this time drugs are not suspected to be connected to the case.
Both Boyd and Payne have criminal records, but those don't include "serious" or felony crimes, according to Rogers. Payne previously had been charged with DUI.
The two appeared before a judge Friday and their cases on the child cruelty charges were bound over to Superior Court for further bond proceedings, Rogers said. The two currently are being held in the Bartow County jail.
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