Sharp County Authorities Investigate Death of Baby - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Sharp County, AR -- Brandi Hodges Reports

Sharp County Authorities Investigate Death of Baby

April 8, 2006 -- Posted at 8:23 p.m. CST


SHARP COUNTY, AR -- A little girl is dead in Sharp County, and her family is looking for answers as they grieve.


Sharp County authorities say Lauren Rutledge died sometime Friday morning, under very suspicious circumstances.


Betty Elliot, the child’s grandmother, received a phone call from her son-in-law.


“He told me that I needed to get up to my daughters house in Cherokee Village… that her baby, little Lauren, was dead,” said Betty Elliot.


The death of one-year-old Lauren Rutledge is being considered a homicide.


“When we got up there, they was bringing Lauren out on a stretcher.  I could tell that she was all swelled up,” said Elliot.


The family says they believe the baby was beaten to death.


“I looked at my granddaughter, and I seen how many knots and bruises she had all over her body,” said Elliot.


     The sheriff’s department isn’t saying exactly what caused the death.


“I wouldn’t want to comment on all the injuries that she had, but there were some apparent injuries,” said Sharp County Sheriff Dale Weaver.


The mother of the child has been interviewed by investigators, as well as other family members.


Sheriff Dale Weaver says there is a primary person of interest, the same person the family says is responsible.


“I will say it was a boyfriend that had been living part-time with the mother,” said Weaver.


The man has not been questioned yet, but he is behind bars.


“He’s just been placed in custody in another county on something un-related to this,” said Weaver.


The boyfriend will be interviewed about Lauren's death sometime this week.


Lauren Rutledge's body has been sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab in Little Rock for an autopsy.  Those results should be known in the next couple of days. 


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