CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. – Cleveland County deputies arrested two parents who are accused of abusing their six-month-old daughter to the point that she had to be hospitalized with serious injuries.
According to the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) on March 24 to investigate what doctors believed was a case of child abuse. After speaking to doctors, deputies obtained a search warrant for the couple's home on Rehobeth Chuch Road in Shelby.
Deputies arrested both of the child’s parents: Steven Glenn Dean, 34, and Morgan Lyndsay Conn, 34, who were each charged with felony child abuse inflicting serious injury.
The child remains at CMC's Levine Children's Hospital in critical condition.
Jessica Bullman lives next door to the couple's now-empty home. She recalled back in March when Dean ran to her house claiming he found his child unconscious. A certified nursing assistant, she performed CPR on the child while Dean called 911.
"I couldn't believe what I was doing," Bullman recalled. "She was so small."
Cleveland County deputies said the child suffered broken bones, retinal hemorrhaging and bleeding in the brain.
Ann Weaver lives in the same neighborhood. She was surprised when she saw deputies and social services workers surround Dean and Conn's mobile home.
"They handcuffed him and put him in the car," she said. "I don't see how anybody could hurt a baby; that's just about the worse thing you can do."
Weaver said the couple, along with their children, had moved into the neighborhood recently, and she only saw them in passing. She said if they needed help with their daughter, she would have been happy to pitch in.
"If the baby was getting to them like that, I would've been glad to have kept the baby," the great-grandmother-to-be said. "That's just awful."
Bullman said her two-year-old son once played at Dean and Conn's house.
"I wish, since it was so close, I would've known," Bullman said. "[I wish] I would've heard something so that I could've prevented the situation."
Dean and Conn remain in jail under a $150,000 bond. The Sheriff's Office said the couple's other children are in DSS custody.
State court records show both Dean and Conn have lengthy criminal histories, but almost all of their convictions were for non-violent offenses. In fact, Conn still has a pending court case for a school attendance law violation.
When the couple was in Catawba County around November 2013, Dean was charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault on a child under 12-years-old while Conn was charged with misdemeanor child abuse.
In January 2015, prosecutors dropped the couple's charges.
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