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Police chief’s son charged with child cruelty; 3-year-old had head injury

A west Georgia man has been jailed after his 3-year-old stepson was flown to an Atlanta hospital with a head injury, police said.

The suspect, Joshua David Richards, is the son of Carrollton police Chief Joel Richards, according to Channel 2 Action News.

Police in Villa Rica responded shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday to a report of an injured child at the Hickory Falls Apartments, Capt. Keith Shaddix said in a statement. The boy’s mother had called 911.

Authorities determined Joshua Richards caused the child’s injury. However, it was not immediately clear what he allegedly did to cause the injury.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Shaddix told Channel 2. “I’m just trying to wrap my mind around what happened to trigger this incident.”

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Richards, 21, was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, first-degree cruelty to children and possession of marijuana, police said. He made his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon.

The condition of the child is unknown. Shaddix told Channel 2 the boy had “severe trauma” to the head.

“Our belief is it happened during the night and the mother was actually asleep in a different room and was not aware of what was happening,” Shaddix said.

Attempts to reach Joel Richards were unsuccessful.  

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