(Franklin, GA) — The parents of a six-week-old baby that died unexpectedly on August 6, 2013 are in the Heard County jail tonight facing serious charges related to the infant’s death.
According to a press release issued this afternoon by Franklin Police Chief Kevin Hannah, the father, 26-year-old Jacob Mitchell Ward, and the mother, 22-year-old Amanda Lynn Ward were arrested on Monday, October 21st, after a joint investigation was conducted by the Franklin Police Department and Georgia Bureau of Investigation, into the death of the 41-day-old child, Jackson Robert Lee Ward.
During the afternoon hours on August 6th, the Heard County Emergency Services and Franklin Police Department were dispatched to a residence at the Heard Mobile Home Park located at 688 Franklin Parkway, regarding an infant that was not breathing. Earlier reports indicated that the father, Jacob Ward, made the call to 911.
Upon their arrival, Jackson Robert Lee Ward was found unconscious and immediately rushed to West Georgia Medical Center, while emergency medical personnel attempted to resuscitate the infant.
Procedures continued after arriving at the hospital, but were unsuccessful. The baby was pronounced dead by Dr. Chris Morgan at 4:00 p.m.
The Franklin Police Department and Heard County Coroner’s Office were notified and responded to the West Georgia Medical Center, where they began an investigation into the cause of death.
The deceased infant was transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy to be performed.
“Due to the many unanswered questions surrounding the infant’s death, the Franklin Police Department requested the assistance of the GBI and a joint investigation ensued,” said Chief Hannah.
A preliminary finding by the Medical Examiner’s Office determined an unnatural cause of death including blunt force trauma. This report, coupled with other evidence gathered, led to Monday’s arrests.
The press release states a Superior Court Judge signed arrest warrants for Jacob Mitchell Ward and Amanda Lynn Ward on Wednesday, October 16.
The arrest report indicates the couple now resides in Fayetteville, Georgia. Each parent is charged with one count of Murder and one count of Cruelty To Children.
Sarah Japour of the Heard County District Attorney’s office declined to comment on details of the case which is still under investigation. “I have been prosecuting in Heard County for 12 years and I have not worked a murder during that time,” said Japour, “We have been a very blessed community in that regard.”
According to Japour, bond cannot be set in the case until at least November 5, when the Superior Court Judge will be presiding. The earliest that indictments could be handed down would be in December when the next Heard County grand jury is called.
Amanda Ward posted the following on her public facebook page last Friday: “RIP Little Man I love you gone but never forgotten. PROUD MOMMY OF THE BEST BABY EVER.”
Stay tuned to HeardCitizen.com for updates on this case as they become available.