Alleged cattle prod child abuse prompts investigation

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

News 12 at 11, September 11, 2007

AIKEN, S.C.---Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt calls it the most shocking case of child abuse he's ever seen. A couple is accused of using a handheld cattle prod on two children.

Now, the family says this wasn't the first sign of trouble. DSS says they will now investigate their own actions regarding the case, and the children involved.

The handheld cattle prod in question packs a 4,500 volt punch. Aiken authorities say Dana and Kip Smith used it repeatedly on Dana's two oldest sons, ages 12 and 14.

Dana's grandmother Mary says she confronted Dana about it before her arrest. "She said to me it didn't hurt them. She said it don't even leave a mark. She said it just leaves them scared."

And Mary says this wasn't the first sign of trouble. "They've had whippings on top pf whippings, I'm telling you these kids have been through some terrible terrible stuff."

Mary remembers one beating the 14-year-old allegedly suffered years ago. "He dropped his pants and his butt was pure mushy..purple."

Mary says she's had Dana's three sons handed over to her three different times. Family members say Dana's lost custody a total of six times since her oldest son was born.

DSS hasn't released an exact number to News 12. But they did release a statement via Virginia Williamson: "We're taking a look at records, and are working out a timeline to see how the kids were treated. ... We are reviewing our records to see how we handled the case, particularly in light of what we're seeing now in our investigation."

Mary says she's upset with DSS because they've handed the children back over to Dana "one too many times." Now she hopes this will finally be the last one. "I'm getting too old and before I die, I'd love to know them kids ain't never going to be beat no more."

Mary added the family has spent thousands of dollars over the years to win custody of the boys, something they are still fighting right now. Mary also told News 12 DSS has allowed Dana to see the children since her latest arrest, and they're afraid that like every time in the past, Dana will eventually regain custody.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Tina Location: Anderson on Apr 16, 2009 at 02:21 PM
    I go to school with the oldest boy and {he} has turned out to be a great person, no thanks to his parents.
  • by Katelyn Location: North Carolina on Sep 15, 2007 at 03:01 PM
    Im Dana's Niece, My cousins have been beatin many times. I have seen first hand what Dana has done to the boys. And it is very scary that the DSS whould allow this to continue...
  • by Patricia Location: North Carolina on Sep 14, 2007 at 08:43 PM
    Im the boys aunt .. Ty you all for ur comments and hopefully this time the boys will be taken for good.. they have been put threw hell and back. I dunno how these children will end up in life after what they have went threw but with help and counciling hopefully they can get past what Dana has done to them God Bless you all and the media for bring the boys story to light
  • by REESE on Sep 13, 2007 at 11:35 AM
    I can't believe that this is happening to these children. I just recently had a baby and I can't imagine laying a hand on her. I wish when family servies was called the 1st time that should have been enough for them not to have the children return to them. The parents are un fit , and those children need to be with there grandmother not those monsters. They should spend the rest of there life behind bars. Where is the justice? Hopefully during the investgation that the parents will behind bars soon. I pray that the children will recover from this. Thanks.
  • by Bill Location: New Haven,CT on Sep 12, 2007 at 04:54 PM
    Why do these children keep being returned to these "monsters"? And why aren't these "monsters" serving a long prison sentence?
  • by Carolyn Tonahill Location: Baton Rouge, LA on Sep 12, 2007 at 04:12 PM
    If ever there were two people completely unfit to parent it is Dana and her husband.Her dismissive "it only leaves them scared" comment alone is chilling. These children have been cruelly abused by their mother and the justice system. All visitation should cease immediately for she will use the time to torment them mentally with threats about what she will do to them if they speak out. And they will believe it because she's gotten them back before. Stop it. Enough!
  • by Susan Beaman Location: Canada on Sep 12, 2007 at 03:29 PM
    These people from child services, Should not have a job..Any where at any time for the rest of there lives. I Can't believed that these Children were returned(EVER)Thank- You, Charles AND BLESS YOU. HUG.
  • by Delores Location: Michigan on Sep 12, 2007 at 02:30 PM
    I can't believe that these children were returned all them times.What in the world were the officials doing?Waiting till they got a call that the children were dead.You read stories all the time of cases similar to this and later that is what happens[Fire the stupid people and take the judges off the bench-Buy them a hammock,because they sure must be asleep when they had this case in front of them.- God Bless you Charlesw
  • by Tammy Location: Sesser, IL on Sep 12, 2007 at 12:39 PM
    This is horrible!! These children should have been removed and kept away from their mother along time ago. She doesn't deserve to have her children if she's going to treat them like that. Mothers are suppose to take care of their children and protect them, not put fear in them and abuse them. This is so sad!
  • by Anonymous on Sep 12, 2007 at 08:12 AM
    What in the world is the Department of Family and Children Service thinking. Somebodt needs to investigate them for not doing their job. And who's idea was it to set such a low bond for them and what person in their right mind would even think of going on their bond.
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