Family of child cruelty suspects: Media making grandmother out to be 'monster'

By: Sheli Muniz Email
By: Sheli Muniz Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, Sept. 17, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A grandmother and a cousin are in the Richmond County Jail after deputies say they found a 4-year-old boy hidden in an attic.

They also found him with bruises on his face and chest.

News 12 spoke exclusively with the family as they left the courtroom, including Rose Faamatau, sister of Aileen Satoafaiga.

"She quit having her own life just to take care of her own grandkid. Now, y'all are making her out to be a monster," she said.

Family members claim the media is making their sister out to be a monster, but what may be scary is what deputies say a little boy has endured. Investigators tell us they found him in the attic of a home off Buckhead Court in Augusta on Friday. The temperature was at 83 degrees.

Sataofaiga's niece, Tammie Washington, said, "She did not just leave him up there, it was just for a quick second when the police knocked on the door. That was it, from what we hear."

Deputies knocked on the door because Warren Road Elementary School administrators told them that the boy hadn't been in class for about a week.

News 12 asked, "They said from the 7th to the 14th [of September] when the alleged incident happened, so what happened where he wasn't in school?"

"I wasn't there, OK?" Faamatau replied. "I just know my sister took care of them kids."

Satoafaiga is also being accused for the marks found on the little boy's body. Deputies say there were bruises on his face and his chest.

His cousin, 19-year-old Preston Kelly, is also facing the same charges. Deputies say he was hiding the boy.

"From what we heard, he moved his hand and his shoe hit him -- that's what happened," Washington said.

Washington was raised by Sataofaiga herself. She says the grandmother has been taking care of the little boy since he was just 8 months old.

"She just had a bad day, everybody has a bad day sometimes," Faamatau said.

This may just be the beginning of them as this family takes their claims of innocence through the court system.

"It was an accident. This is not something she does on a daily basis, period. That's all I got to say about it," Washington said.

The boy's grandmother and cousin were neither given nor denied bond on Monday. The magistrate court judge deferred the case until a prosecutor could attend.

Meanwhile, the 4-year-old boy is in state custody.

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