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Sheriff's officials collecting evidence in reported abuse case

    About two months after a Bulloch County Department of Family and Children Services worker reported a suspected child abuse incident, Bulloch County Sheriff's officials are still collecting evidence, said Chief Deputy Gene McDaniel.
    According to a sheriff's incident report, a two-month-old girl was taken to East Georgia Regional Medical Center, then transported to Memorial Health University Medical Center's Backus Children's Hospital Nov. 2.
    Bulloch County Department of Family and Children Services worker Shron Tillman reported the incident three days later, according to the report submitted by Bulloch County Sheriff's Investigator Walter Deal.
    "On (Nov. 5) I was contacted by Shron Tillman of Bulloch County DFCS in reference to a child abuse case," he wrote in the report. Deal was not immediately available for comment Thursday.
    Calls to the Bulloch County Department of Family and Children Services office Thursday seeking comment regarding the case were not returned.
    The child was transported to the Savannah hospital "with what appears to be Shaken Baby Syndrome," Deal wrote. "This investigation into this incident will be conducted by (Bulloch County Sheriff's Department Criminal Investigation Division ) and assistance of DFCS."
    East Georgia Regional Medical Center CEO Bob Bigley said the hospital's policy regarding suspected child abuse is to contact the Department of Family and Children Services unless the child is in immediate danger. Then, both DFCS and law enforcement are notified, he said.
    Usually, DFCS workers notify law enforcement if they feel it is necessary, he said.
    McDaniel said the investigation continues. Medical examiners from a crime lab must review the victim's medical records and X-rays, he said.
    "These have to be reviewed by medical people who can testify to the condition and how (the child) came to be in that condition."
    In response to public comments stating the investigation is taking too long, McDaniel said "Our job is to do the job and do it right. We must collect sufficient evidence to make an arrest and to be able to put evidence beyond a reasonable doubt before a jury."
    If enough evidence is collected "and we have a strong criminal case, we'll lock someone up and do it quickly," he said.

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