GREENSBORO, N.C. — A 2-year-old girl died from abuse at the hands of her grandmother, according to Greensboro police.
59-year-old Rubie Thomas appeared in court Thursday. She's charged with first-degree murder and intentional child abuse causing serious bodily injury.
Police began their investigation on April 1 when they got a call to a home on Oferrell Street. Officers found 2-year-old Shade Wilhite suffering from cardiac arrest. She had a cut to her lower lip and bruises all over her body.
Investigators said the girl's 5-year-old brother also lived in the home and told officers that his sister was throwing up in bed. The boy also told officers that Thomas pushed his sister down the stairs because she was "messing" with the aquarium.
First responders tried to save the girl's life, but she died later at a hospital. Medical staff reported signs of abuse and detectives confirmed that the girl's injuries weren't by accident.
Court documents allege that Thomas "intentionally" injured her granddaughter to the point of broken ribs, more than 50 contusions, cuts on the back of her leg, injuries to her face, cuts in her mouth, multiple hemorrhaging to her scalp, brain bleeding and bleeding around her spinal cord, bleeding on the inside of her eyes, bruised intestines and more.
Investigators said the girl's brother also suffered abuse in the home. The siblings' parents have been notified, but there are previous Child Protective Services and GPD investigations going on.
Nikki Jenkins is the Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator with Family Services of the Piedmont.
She says when they hear of situations like this, it's frustrating but pushes them to work harder at bringing awareness to child abuse. "To get into even preschools, talking to them about doing body checks on the kids that they see when they come in the mornings, just to remind people how important their roles are as caregivers and when you're working with children and reminding everyone that we are all required mandated reporters," Jenkins said.
Thomas is being held in jail without bond. Her next court date is May 26.
She was assigned a public defender and capital murder defender which is typical when the death penalty is on the table.
2-year-old Wilhite would have turned three years old on April 30.
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