Summerville couple arrested on felony child cruelty charges after kids found starved

From Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader: On Thursday, April 4, 2024 at approximately 5:00 PM, Chief Investigator Jason Burrage was notified by Atrium Floyd Emergency Department in Rome concerning two children that were being treated there. Chief Inv. Burrage responded to the hospital and found the two children, ages 12 months and 23 months were severely malnourished and dehydrated. The 23 month old weighed 14 lbs, only twice its birth weight, and was extremely lethargic and nearly lifeless. The investigation revealed that the parents had failed to provide the necessary sustenance for the children to thrive. This included food, water, nutrition and adequate medical care. Another one of the couples children, a 36-month-old, was located at a relative’s house and was found to be extremely underweight as well. The two children that were being treated at Atrium Floyd were quickly transferred to a children’s specialty hospital for much further treatment. The younger children weren’t even able to sit, stand, walk or otherwise function due to their severe condition. The parents, 22-year-old Joseph David Wilson Jr and 22-year-old Santeria Watkins, both of Summerville, were charged with 3 counts each of Felony Cruelty to Children 1st degree, 2 counts each of Felony Cruelty to Children 2nd degree, and 3 counts of Contributing to the dependency of a child. The children have been removed from their custody and the investigation is being continued by Chief Inv. Burrage.

-Sheriff Mark A. Schrader

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