Augusta mother, boyfriend arrested for child abuse

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December 7, 2006

Child abuse is one of Augusta's most underreported crimes.

One recent case is especially cruel: brother and sister, two and three years old, beat up and badly bruised.

Investigators say this is nothing new.

In fact, the sheriff's office can get up to eight reports a day...and the children most at risk are the young ones.

Sgt. Richard Roundtree says Christine Searcy did nothing after her live-in boyfriend, 31-year-old Darrick Hines, beat up both her two and three year old kids.

"She was well aware of the abuse going on, she was aware of the injuries, she was aware of what was going on inside the home," Sgt. Roundtree said.

The toddlers sustained injury after injury: a shattered eardrum, a two-week old fractured arm, hemorrhaging to the eyes, and bruises and scratches.

Mark Mobley lives next door.

"I'm shocked, really," he said. "I didn't think that anything like that was going on at all."

He never saw much of his neighbors, but he never suspected a thing.

"I seen them outside a couple times," he said. "I couldn't imagine that at all. Not at all."

But this is far from imaginary for Sgt. Roundtree, because in the Violent Crimes Unit, cases like this are common.

"The child is not actually able to speak out and say that 'I'm being abused.' They're not of an intellect where they can see that this is wrong," he said.

Searcy and Hines are in jail, both facing charges.

The children were treated at University Hospital's emergency room. Their aunt was the one who reported the abuse.