District Attorney's Office


  

Conasauga Judicial Circuit of Georgia




   Serving Murray & Whitfield Counties

CRUELTY TO CHILDREN CHARGES DISMISSED

June 29, 2017 (Dalton) – Cruelty to children charges against Tiffany Dianne Gibson (27) of 124 Latonia Dr., Dalton, were formally dismissed today by the Whitfield County Grand Jury after hearing evidence on the case and upon the recommendation of the District Attorney’s Office. Gibson was arrested on January 25, 2017 after finding her 20-month old son dead in his crib. Pending autopsy results, the original charges of cruelty related to an alleged failure to provide food and sustenance for the deceased son and his five-year-old sister. However it was later determined that neither child was malnourished. Living conditions in the home were deplorable including animal feces inside the house and urine and fecal stains inside the crib where it had not been properly cleaned. Early in the investigation it appeared that there may have been a connection between the death and the living conditions.

However, an autopsy report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, Department of Forensic Sciences, Medical Examiner’s Office was completed in May and found that the cause of death was Neisseria meningitis, a form of bacterial meningitis particularly deadly in young children which led to rapid adrenal gland failure. According to Dr. Lora Darrisaw, Director of Pediatric Pathology at the Crime Lab, the child could have reasonably gone from onset of symptoms (fever) to death within a matter of hours. Additionally, the illness would not have been caused by or connected to the sanitary conditions in the home. The Neisseria bacteria would have been transmitted from another person who had or was a carrier for the infection and would have been transmitted most likely through kissing the child or coughing or sneezing near the child.

Ms. Gibson reported to investigators that her son had a fever the night before his death which she treated with Tylenol. Other individuals in the home confirmed the child’s fever with no other observed symptoms. Medical records showed that Gibson routinely took the child to the doctor when ill and it does not appear that her actions the night before her son’s death were unreasonable given the symptoms presented. Neisseria meningitis in young children has a 50% mortality rate. So even had she immediately taken the child to the emergency room that night, the child may have still died from the infection.



Bert Poston
District Attorney
Conasauga Judicial Circuit


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Bert Poston,
District Attorney


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