Bloomingrose woman arrested on felony child abuse charges

Fred Pace fpace@civitasmedia.com

August 28, 2013

BLOOMINGROSE — A Bloomingrose woman has been arrested on felony child abuse charges following some very disturbing allegations.

Tabitha Lynn Harper, 28, of Bloomingrose, was arrested by deputies with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department this afternoon after responding to a complaint from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Child Protective Services (CPS) Division.

The children’s school notified Child Protective Services of their suspicions.

The children — three girls and a boy, ranging in age from 9 to 3 — lived in the Toney’s Branch Road area apartment with their mother.

Lt. David Sutphin said the woman’s 6-year-old daughter had a human bite mark on the back of her upper left arm. Sutphin said Harper bit the girl.

“In the photograph of the kid’s arm, you can actually see the bite marks, and it appears to be a bite from a human adult,” Sutphin said. “The kids are really afraid of her.”

When deputies arrived at Harper’s home, they found the children with bruises, and scratches as well, according to Boone County Sheriff’s Department’s Chief Deputy Chad Barker.

“All these specific injuries were allegedly caused by the mother of the children,” Barker said.

Deputies also reported that when they knocked on the front door of the residence, Harper fled out the rear door on foot.

“She ran into a wooded area attempting to evade officers, but was taken into custody a short distance later,” Barker said.

Harper was charged with felony child abuse and was arraigned in front of Boone County Magistrate Charles Byrnside.

Corporal B.G. Browning is handling the investigation for the Sheriff’s Office, Barker added.

“The allegations are very disturbing and include IV (intravenous) drug use in front of the small kids,” Barker said.

Intravenous drug use is a method of introducing a drug into the body with a hollow needle and a syringe which is pierced through the skin into the body.

Harper is being housed in the Southwestern Regional Jail on a $50,000 bond.