Mom charged after liver cuts, internal bleeding found in 3-year-old

Gabrielle Bankston (Source: CCDC)
Gabrielle Bankston (Source: CCDC)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A mother was arrested Tuesday, months after her 3-year-old child was found to be badly bruised and suffering from lacerations to his liver.

Gabrielle Alyse Bankston, 24, was arrested on Mall Drive in North Charleston a little after 1 p.m. Tuesday. She is charged with infliction or allowing infliction of great bodily injury upon a child.

Police say the abuse occurred at a home on Juniper Street in West Ashley.

An incident report states investigators responded to Roper St. Francis on Henry Tecklenburg Drive June 23 after a physician reported possible child abuse.

When they arrived, the doctor told police he observed several signs of abuse on the body of a 3-year-old boy. The doctor said the child had several bruises to his back, face, forehead, chest area, left arm, and left leg.

Furthermore, the doctor said the child was suffering from liver lacerations. Court documents released Wednesday states the doctor found a 4-centimeter cut and internal bleeding in the pelvic area.

The doctor told police when he asked Bankston about the bruises, she told him the child fell near the pond by her home. Bankston also told the doctor she didn't notice the bruises on her son, the report states.

Bankston had brought the child to the hospital because he wasn't eating well and had vomited several times in the preceding days, according to the report.

The mother also told police the child had been staying with his father from June 9 to June 18, and she noticed a lack of appetite then. She told officers she did not think anything of it though, saying she thought the child was "just used to eating [his father's mother's] cooking."

The child was taken to the Medical University of South Carolina for treatment of the liver injuries. Doctors at MUSC later told investigators they believed the injuries were not from accidental trauma and likely occurred within 24 hours of the child's admission to the hospital.

MUSC physicians also told investigators the injuries could have eventually resulted in the death of the boy.

Additionally, other witnesses who saw the boy in the week prior to the injuries did not observe any injuries to the child at that time, according to court documents.

The Department of Social Services was notified. It is unclear who has custody of the child at this point.

Bankston was granted a $250,000 bond during a court hearing Wednesday.

Following the hearing, we spoke with Bankston's uncle, Russell Dunham, who said, "My niece is not capable of lacerating my grand-nephew's liver with a blow of that force."

Dunham suggested the child's father is responsible for the abuse.

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