Effingham couple facing new charges after 3-month-old died in May

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Tempestt Latabotha James (left) and Ledarius Thomas (right) face additional charges (mugshots provided by Florence County Detention Center)

EFFINGHAM, SC (WBTW) – A couple charged in connection with the death of a 3-month-old boy in Effingham now faces additional charges.

Tempestt Latabotha James was charged Thursday with abuse/inflict great bodily injury upon a child, according to the State Law Enforcement Division. Ledarius Thomas faces the same additional charge.

The SLED investigation was requested by the Florence Police Department. James and Thomas were booked into the Florence County Detention Center.

Both previously faced charges of unlawful neglect of a child or helpless person. The child died in May.

In June, investigators said the child died of asphyxia after being placed face down on a pillow in a car seat. Further investigation revealed several bone fractures in the child’s ribs, femur, and tibia on both legs that were in various stages of healing, according to the affidavit.

A new warrant suggests that Thomas disclosed that the victim fell off the bed on two separate occasions while in his custody. The final autopsy reported that these injuries were in various stages of healing and highly concerning for non-accidental trauma.

New warrants also say that pediatric records revealed two missed appointments during the time these injuries would have been present.

The warrants say Thomas and James failed to seek medical attention for the boy prior to his death. One warrant says this failure ultimately resulted in the child’s death.

The case will be prosecuted by the 12th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

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