2 arrested in connection to Darlington Co. toddler’s death appear in court, cause of death released

Pee Dee

Jodi Holden (mugshot from W. Glenn Campbell Detention Center)

HARTSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – Jodi Breanna Holden and Randall Scott Watson were arrested by the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office after a toddler was taken to the hospital for severe injuries, and later died.

Both are currently being held at the W. Glenn Campbell Detention Center in Darlington.

Holden is the mother of the little boy named Kaiden Smith, according to authorities. Investigators with the Special Victims Unit are investigating the case and plan to seek unlawful conduct towards a child charges. But, additional charges could come up depending on the investigation.

News13 spoke to Holden’s family, and they shared their version of what happened. According to Holden’s sister, Bridget, Kaiden was with Watson while Holden was at work. He called her saying something was wrong with Kaiden, so she left work and picked him up.

On the drive home, Holden noticed he was grunting and unresponsive. She rushed him to the hospital in Hartsville where he was put on a breathing machine. Staff told her he would be transferred to McLeod in Florence, Bridget said. 

Holden didn’t get to see her son anymore after finding out that information per her sister. She was arrested, along with Watson, and her other daughter was taken away by the Department of Social Services.

While interviewing Bridget, Holden called from jail and spoke to News13. She said she didn’t even know her son had passed away until this morning.

“I know she didn’t hurt Aiden because Aiden is very attached to her hip. Everywhere she goes, he would say ‘mama, give me hug, mama give me kiss’. She’s very protective over him, and he’s very attached to her, ” Bridget said.

A bond hearing for Holden and Watson was set for Friday at 4 p.m. at the detention center.

News13’s Annie Mapp was at the hearing. 

Both are charged with homicide by child abuse and bond will be set in a circuit court. 

According to the autopsy, the cause of the child’s death was blunt force trauma to the head. Darlington County Coroner Todd Hardee has ruled the death as a homicide.

Investigators also reportedly discovered that he had old signs of abuse and say the suspects failed to seek medical help in a timely manner. It was also discovered that Kaiden’s father lives in New York, but Holden and Watson were the guardians.

Both were scheduled appear in court on May 22.

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