Two women charged in death of 3-year-old appear in court

Geraldine Brockington and Kesia Grant appear before a Florence County Magistrate.

Jeraldine Brockington, 42, and her daughter, Kesia Grant, 23, appeared before Florence County Magistrate Belinda Timmons for a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

The two are charged in the death of Tylashia Grant, 3, of Florence.

In January, police arrested Grant and Brockington on charges of homicide by child abuse. Brockington had legal custody of the the three-year-old through the Department of Social Services She was the child's aunt. Kesia lived in the home with Brockington.

A preliminary hearing was done at the request of the suspects' attorneys. The purpose of the hearing was to determine if the state can show there is probable cause that the suspects committed the crime

Solicitor Ed Clements said autopsy results show Tylashia died from both burns on her body and the toxic effect of medications in her system which caused complications of the third degree burns. An autopsy showed the girl had codine and morphine in her system. And deputies say the child's body was covered in burns, many of them old. They say Brockington and Grant used medications to treat the child, but didn't take her to the hospital until a week and a half later.

Investigator Jennifer Floyd with the Florence County Sheriff's Office explained to Judge Timmons, "I did meet with Kesia who stated that she was present when the burn happened and she used over-the-counter medication to treat that and also statement from Jeraldine that she also helped treat it at home with over-the-counter ointments."

Solicitor Clements asked Investigator Floyd about how the burns occurred.

"Kesia states that the burn occurred when she was cooking noodles in the microwave and she had the bowl in her mouth and it dropped onto the back of the baby (Tylashia)," said Floyd.

Floyd says they did have testing completed with microwaves and bowls. She said workers at Care House of the Pee Dee also interviewed a six-year-old child who lives in the home about what happened.

"We also had the other child in the residence seen at the Care House who disclosed to us that Kesia poured hot water into the front and the back of the child's diaper because she used the bathroom without letting them know," said Floyd.

Officers say Tylashia was already dead when she arrived at the hospital.

Attorneys for Grant and Brockington asked the judge to dismiss the charges against their clients, saying the state did not prove their was enough probable cause to proceed.

Judge Timmons ruled there is enough probable cause to send the case to the grand jury that will determine if the suspects will be indicted.

Brockington and Grant remain behind bars at the Florence County Detention Center.

The Department of Social Services is conducting an internal investigation because there were three complaints about Tylashia's care before her death. The investigation continues.