Grandmother: Baby Had Fresh Broken Bones, Laceration To The Liver

More than 100 people attended Sunday night a vigil for the deceased Journey Ann Cowart, 1, at Cartersville Medical Center.

A vigil for Journey Ann Cowart, 1, was held Sunday night at Cartersville Medical Center. Photo: Facebook
A vigil for Journey Ann Cowart, 1, was held Sunday night at Cartersville Medical Center. Photo: Facebook
The 1-year-old girl who died last week of abuse allegedly at the hands of her mother and the mom's boyfriend had fresh broken bones and internal injuries, including a lacerated liver, paternal grandmother Mellodie Hunt told CBS Atlanta. The child, who had healed from previous injuries, also had broken toes, according to Fox 5.

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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Phyllis Colmar January 28, 2014 at 08:50 AM
I call people like this maggots posing as human. They should be exterminated like the bugs they are. These child murders should all be an automatic death penalty, not as punishment, although they deserve it, but as protection for other children. We could also stop these abusers by making stronger animal cruelty laws, as these maggots usually start with an innocent dog or cat. I personally am sickened by it.
Elizabeth Elizabeth January 28, 2014 at 07:22 PM
Please, please no deal for this mother. It's time women take responsibility for serving their infants up to boyfriends. The most dangerous person to a child is a mother's boyfriend or a stepfather... Extended family needs to report suspicious injuries to CPS or DSS or law enforcement. How often do you see babies with serious bruising? It's time for people to ere on the side of caution and REPORT. It is everyone's business.
Bonnie Bartley February 04, 2014 at 05:41 PM
If I was told one bruise was an accident on one of my grandchildren that young I suppose I'd accept that, but if I saw another bruise and heard another flimsy excuse I'd either take the bull by the horns and remove the child myself or I'd call the proper authorities and have it removed to my custody. I don't know what the situation is with this child's extended family and my heart goes out to them in the loss of this beautiful and precious baby and I can't even begin to imagine the state of grief and turmoil they must be in and my prayers are with them. It would be unfair to rush to judgement on them. It's become obvious time after time again that some people just aren't cut out to be parents and this apparently applies to them. Such people should be sterilized in my humble opinion and not allowed to put another innocent baby or child in the face of danger and/or death. If Moms can't cope with the responsibility of a baby or young child the kindest, responsible, and best thing they can do is take the child to a hospital or fire station, explain their situation, and relinquish it to the custody of the authorities or to more stable family members. No questions will be asked if the child is not injured. I will never understand the mindset of some who had rather abuse and risk death for their child than relinquish it to warm loving arms who would be so grateful to have it!
Bonnie Bartley February 04, 2014 at 05:43 PM
**obviously applies** (to them)..
Christine Bryan March 29, 2014 at 11:49 AM
To bad all of you only know the news and the police are telling you. There is all was more than meets the eye to any story. What ever helps you sleep at night.


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