Erica Lawson, of Middlesboro, was arrested on June 30 after the 17-month-old girl died at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. The child had signs of physical and sexual abuse according to a Bell County Commonwealth Attorney.
On the day of her preliminary hearing on Aug. 8, Lawson made the decision to waive a preliminary hearing and move the case forward to a grand jury.
She was charged with second-degree manslaughter, failure to report child neglect/abuse, first-degree criminal abuse against a child under 12 and first-degree wanton endangerment.
Lawson was initially booked into the Bell County Detention Center. Her bond was set for $1,000,000. Media partner WRIL reports that Lawson was transferred to the Leslie County Detention Center.
The community also came together for a vigil in honor of the 17-month-old on Aug. 1. Among the people at the vigil was the girl’s father, Trey Hembree.
According to WRIL, a candlelight vigil in memory of the young toddler will be on Aug. 12 at the Courthouse Square in Pineville.