DILLON COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A family is renewing calls for justice one week after a judge declared a mistrial in the case of a Dillon County day care operator accused in the shaking death of a child.
Jeremiah Thompson’s parents waited anxiously for the start of the trial. They said the judge’s declaration of a mistrial because of a hung jury left them heartbroken.
Jeremiah Thompson died in February 2019 at just 5 months old. Officials said day care owner Judy Cox shook him to death.
Cox was charged with homicide by child abuse in the case. The trial started March 20 and lasted five days. Jeremiah Thompson’s parents were at the trial all five days, and said it brought back painful memories.
“To get the verdict of a mistrial, tore my heart to pieces,” said Melissa Thompson, Jeremiah Thompson’s mother. “And I question again why? Why? I waited for this. Justice for my baby is very important, and I’m not going to stop fighting until I get it.”
Jeremiah Thompson was one half of a set of twin boys.
“His life had meaning,” Melissa Thompson said. “His name had meaning. He had a future that was waiting for him.”
The family said the four-year wait for the trial tested them, only getting through it by relying on friends, family, and faith.
“We lean on each other and we gain strength from each other,” said Robert Thompson, Jeremiah Thompson’s father.
“If Jeremiah’s death was another way to tell me to totally depend on God, it has,” Melissa Thompson said. “It really has.”
The Thompsons are in the process of meeting with the 4th Circuit solicitor to determine what comes next. The family said they’re now going to fight even harder for justice.
“We’re going to continue to fight even much harder now than we’ve done before to get justice for Jeremiah,” Melissa Thompson said.
The family has planned a peace rally in Jeremiah’s name from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 22 on Main Street in Dillon.
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Manny Martinez is the weekend evening anchor and a reporter at News13. Manny is from Chicago. He graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in broadcast journalism. Follow Manny on Twitter and read more of his work here.