FIRST ON WITN: Parents Charged With Fracturing Ribs Of Four Month Old

A father and mother have been charged with fracturing the ribs of their four-month-old baby.

Heather Bennett and Thomas Batts of Bayboro were arrested by Pamlico County deputies Friday morning. The two are each facing two felony counts of child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury.

They went before a judge who set their bonds at $250,000 secured. The judge also appointed them attorneys.

The Department of Social Services and the Pamlico County Sheriff's Office have been investigating the baby girl's injuries this week. The baby is now in protective custody.

The injuries happened January 1, and Sheriff Billy Sawyer says the girl went weeks without any medical treatment.

Sawyer says, "I've never seen a kid get beaten like that and I've been doing this for 24 years. That poor child had fractured ribs that were two weeks old. I've had fractured ribs. I know what they feel like."

Warrants say the two are accused of grabbing and tearing the baby's nostril, as well as fracturing her ribs.

The sheriff says in 2009 Bennett was charged in Harnett County with felony child abuse, but entered a plea to a lesser offense.

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