I-TEAM UPDATE: Mother of child with autism says she has problem with way abuse case against son was handled

Friday, June 14, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

GROVETOWN, GA (WRDW/WAGT) – One year ago on this day, Joshua Ford went to the emergency room with welts on his behind.

Doctors were quick to call it child abuse.

But Ford’s mother, Laura Ford, worries Richmond County Sheriff’s Office deputies didn’t take it as seriously as doctors did.

“I have a problem with the way this investigation was handled,” Laura said.

It started with how the investigation ended.

"I was not told the case was closed. I was not told that,” Laura said. “When I found out, I think we both found out around the same time."

Ever since, Laura says she's wanted to talk to Sheriff Richard Roundtree, asking multiple times in person and over the phone.

"She said, ‘Well, if he had to speak to everybody in the public, then he'd never be able to do his job,’” Laura said. “And then she hung up, and I said, 'Okay.'"

A closed case means she should be able to get a copy. She says she waited and waited -- only to get the wrong one.

"It was a total different case file,” Laura said. “It wasn't about Josh. It was about child -- well I won't mention his name -- something bad happened to him in 2013 and 2015.”

She says it's also a red flag they didn't seem to investigate her.

“That would have made me feel great, knowing that they're checking in every area,” Laura said.

She says ever since whatever happened to him, Josh has needed more medication. He also needs more supervision as he's acting out more now. But he's working on being a good big brother to Noah.

She appreciates the support she's now getting from those who reached out after our first I-Team story.

“It's like you're starting all over to get to know a whole total different person because he's not who we all know,” Laura said. “Because he -- he's hurt."

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office confirms Laura filed a complaint with internal affairs and the investigators looked over the case again, but came to the same conclusion. Case closed. Nothing more they can do.

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