Abused 4-year-old girl dies

From staff reportsJuly 18, 2010 

Teghan Skiba, 4

HANDOUT PHOTO

A 4-year-old girl, who investigators say was the victim of one of the worst child abuse cases Johnston County officials have ever seen, has died today.

Jonathan Douglas Richardson, 21, was charged with felony child abuse with serious bodily injury late Friday. Today he was charged with first degree murder for the death of the child, Teghan Alyssa Skiba.

The girl had severe head trauma, was covered in cuts, bites and bruises, and she showed signs of being sexually abused, according to Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell. She died at 6:30 p.m. today, he said.

She had been left in Richardson's care on July 6 when her mother, Helen Reyes, went to New Mexico for Army Reserves training. Bizzell said Reyes returned as soon as she was contacted about her daughter's injuries. Investigators also spoke to the child's father, who is in the Wake County jail on felony drug trafficking charges.

"It's the worse case of child abuse that we've ever seen or investigated," Bizzell said Saturday.

Bizzell said the Wake County Department of Social Services has launched an investigation into the case. Reyes lived in Raleigh before moving in with Richardson. She had known him for about six months, he said.

The three had been living in a barn behind the home of Richardson's grandparents, Wade and Helen Creech. The Creeches have a 74-acre property on the outskirts of Smithfield near Brogden.

The barn where Richardson and the girl were staying had no bathroom, no running water and a single air mattress on the floor for sleeping, Bizzell said.

Richardson has a criminal record that includes a conviction for simple assault and injury to personal property. He was given six months probation and ordered to pay restitution. A judge ruled in April that Richardson had satisfied his probation.

david.bracken@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4548

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