Coroner to hold inquest into possible child abuse death - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Coroner to hold inquest into possible child abuse death

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The home where Ginny Hughes was found unresponsive (Eric Egan/WCIV) The home where Ginny Hughes was found unresponsive (Eric Egan/WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Charleston County Coroner Rae H. Wooten will hold an inquest into the death of Ginny Hughes who died at MUSC on July 4, 2012.  

The inquest is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 5. Testimony will be given so a jury can decide what killed the two-year-old girl.  

"I have not yet ruled on the manner of death for this toddler," Wooten said. "An inquest is a powerful tool for me to gather facts, and at the end of the day, the jury is charged with getting back to me a decision on the manner of death."

In South Carolina, there are five manners of death: natural, accidental, suicide, homicide and undetermined.

The coroner will subpoena witnesses for their testimony, and she will act as the judge.

"The biggest difference with an inquest is that the jurors get to ask questions, and attorneys can't participate except to the extent that the coroner allows," Wooten said. "Jurors have been summoned and witnesses will be subpoenaed."

According to a report from the North Charleston police, NCFD paramedics were giving the girl CPR when officers arrived on scene around 1:30 p.m. July 2. She was taken to the hospital but was unresponsive.

The report says the girl was in the care of a live-in babysitter who was also in charge of two other children, another toddler and an infant.

The babysitter told police that Ginny said she was sleepy so she put her in bed. Twenty minutes later, when the sitter checked on her, Ginny was unresponsive  but felt warm. The sitter noticed the child wasn't breathing and called for help.

The police reports states that the officer "observed slight bruising on the arm and torso of the victim as she was on the floor." It also states that Ginny was born without feet and that the sitter says the child would try to walk and fall down a lot.

A report filed with the NCPD back in April says officers responded to the same address for a possible child abuse case. The victim in that report suffered from "brain and retinal hemorrhages" and resulted in the child being taken by DSS. The child, while unnamed, is also identified as not having "full development of her legs from the knee down."

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