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Murder trial starts in slaying of Columbia County toddler

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 6:29 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA COUNTY (WRDW/WAGT) - There are new developments in the 2019 murder of a Columbia County toddler.

Lincoln DaVitte died in May of 2019, just shy of his second birthday. On Tuesday, Charles Sconyers, his mother’s boyfriend, and Augusta firefighter was back in court facing charges in his death.

We were in the courtroom. It was a long day of witnesses describing their experience of the tragic day of his death.

We heard from teachers at his daycare, first responders to the scene, and several doctors, including neurosurgeons and pediatric surgeons.

The biggest takeaway from those who cared for DaVitte, the injuries he sustained aren’t consistent with what Sconyers said happened.

“I haven’t seen this injury from a running or a standing child,” said Dr. Walker Pipkin, pediatric surgeon, CHOG.

The doctors say they typically see similar injuries from people falling from multiple stories of a building or being ejected during a car crash.

Dr. Kevin Alen said: “The fracture started in the back and actually had two lines that came forward, that suggests there was a lot more force than the ground level fall.”

EARLIER COVERAGE:

The first responders to the scene were firefighters--shortly after Gold Cross arrived. Sconyers was an employee of Gold Cross, and his supervisor told him he could go with DaVitte and help administer care.

But not everyone felt comfortable with him being there.

Kristi Marsh, Gold Cross, paramedic said: “He seemed to be very distraught and kept saying ‘if something happens to him, this is all my fault.’ ‘Please don’t let anything happen to him.’ That was repeated the whole way to the hospital. I got a feeling that he was not as concerned with patient care as he was the outcomes of the child.”

Marsh was one of the paramedics helping stabilize DaVitte. She says she’s never seen an injury like this from a ground-level fall.

One of the final witnesses called to the stand was a doctor specializing in abuse. He says several of DaVitte’s injuries indicated potential abuse.

A lot of the doctors findings were from finding hemorrhages behind both of his eyes and other bruises on his ears and the rest of his body. This is all from the prosecution’s side. We’ll hear from Sconyers and his defense team in the coming days.

This case isn’t as simple as – who could be responsible for Lincoln’s death?

Our I-Team has uncovered another important question – Who could have stopped it? Our I-Team had to fight to be in another court hearing for that. That hearing had nothing to do with Charles Sconyers.

It was between Lincoln’s mother and DFCS. DFCS fought to keep us out of it, so our attorney and news director went to court to ask a judge to let us in.

We wanted to find out whether DFCS missed or ignored possible warning signs of abuse before Lincoln’s death, and a judge sided with us.

In 2019, we learned DFCS had a record of Lincoln having a black eye – not once – but twice. A caseworker concluded there were no safety concerns and closed the case. 6 weeks later, Lincoln died.

Our I-Team investigation also uncovered Lincoln’s daycare teachers say they saw him with black eyes – a busted mouth – pinch marks, and handprints.

They told us they shared this with their daycare director – and when they say nothing was done – they called DFCS.

Our I-Team also questioned the director of DFCS at the time – Tom Rawlings – about the number of children dying after DFCS was alerted. We reported ‘abuse or neglect contributed to the deaths of at least 35 children across the state of Georgia in 2018.’ All had a history of DFCS when they died.

None of this can bring Lincoln back – or those other 35 children back, but it’s important to remember – in hopes it helps save children in danger.

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