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UPDATE: Mother, boyfriend arrested in 'severe' abuse of 14-month-old

Wes Bunch • Aug 16, 2013 at 3:06 PM

GATE CITY — A Scott County mother and her boyfriend have been arrested in connection with the "severe abuse" of her 14-month-old son, who reportedly had two black eyes and was found living in deplorable conditions.

According to Scott County Sheriff John Puckett, Crystal Gail Smith, 22, of Nickelsville, Va., was arrested today on charges of felony child abuse and neglect. Her live-in boyfriend, Donald Wayne Snodgrass, 29, of Nickelsville, was taken into custody shortly before 4 p.m. by the Scott County Sheriff's Office.

Puckett said Snodgrass is suspected of most of the abuse inflicted on the child, who reportedly suffered black eyes, a fractured skull and is experiencing bleeding on the brain. Snodgrass is charged with aggravated malicious wounding of a child and felony abuse and neglect as a result.

The boy is currently undergoing treatment at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, Scott County investigators said.

Puckett said authorities discovered the abuse after being dispatched to Smith's home in the Sabras Chapel area near Nickelsville on Aug. 13 to conduct a welfare check on the child. A person unrelated to the child reportedly called authorities about the alleged abuse after noticing the baby had black eyes and other bruises on his body.

Upon arriving at the residence, investigators reportedly found the child with black eyes, bruises on his arm and with a large knot on his head. The Scott County Department of Social Services was also called to the scene.

Puckett said the child was removed and taken to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport for treatment. The baby was later transferred to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville for specialized treatment.

Authorities said they were able to determine the child had received his injuries several days before they were notified of the alleged abuse. Authorities said neither Smith, or Snodgrass, took the child for medical treatment.

Smith reportedly told investigators that the child was injured when he rolled off a couch in the home and hit his head on a toy located in the floor. She allegedly confessed to abuse being the reason for the boy's injuries shortly before being arrested on Monday.

Smith reportedly told investigators Snodgrass hurt the child because it would not stop crying.

Investigators who responded to the couple's home near Nickelsville described the conditions there as deplorable.

Cockroaches and other insects were reportedly found inside the home where the child lived, along with large amounts of dirt, trash, food, dirty clothes and other refuse. Investigators also reportedly found dog feces throughout the home, as well as a live chicken inside it.

Both Smith and Snodgrass are currently being held at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield. Smith is currently being held without bond, while Snodgrass was expected to appear before a Scott County magistrate later today or tomorrow.

Snodgrass was previously convicted in Kingsport of three counts of child abuse stemming from injuries he inflicted on a three year old.

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