RICHLAND COUNTY, SC — A Richland County couple has been charged with homicide by child abuse in the death of their autistic 4-year-old son.
Richland County Sheriffs Department investigators made the charges against Courtney Shante Thompson, 25, and Robert Antonio Guinyard, 28, and arrested them Tuesday at Sheriffs Department headquarters.
The couples son died Monday of blunt force trauma to his head and body at the couples home along Beaverbrook Road, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said.
Deputies responded to the residence in the Hollywood Hills subdivision off Fairfield Road around 6 p.m.
Thompson and Guinyard each are charged with homicide by child abuse and unlawful conduct toward a child, the Sheriffs Department said.
Investigators accuse the parents of being responsible for the death of the little boy based on evidence at the scene, interviews with family and friends of the couple and the results of an autopsy.
Evidence developed Wednesday night suggested the father had been at home with the boy during the day while the mother out of the house giving birth to the couple's seventh child. The parents told investigators that they found their son unresponsive on the living room floor after they had been in other areas of the house - the mother taking a shower and the father in the kitchen preparing supper - sheriffs department spokesman Curtis Wilson said.
The child endured pain and suffering no child should have to experience, Sheriff Leon Lott said in a news release. Weve learned to reduce auto fatalities through the use of seatbelts and child safety seats, weve learned about reducing child fatalities in cribs, weve also learned to reduce child fatalities when it comes to the toys they play with, but one thing weve got to learn is how to handle stress when it comes to our children, he said.
Five of the couple's six other children are with various other family members. The newborn was taken into protective custody.
Thompson and Guinyard were being held Wednesday at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
Map: Beaverbrook Road