Rhea County man charged with severely beating 10-month-old

(Image: Rhea County Sheriff's Department & MGN)

RHEA COUNTY, Tenn. — Detective Rocky Potter with the Rhea County Sheriff’s Office charged James Earl Alexander with aggravated child abuse after an incident Friday night.

According to Potter, Dayton City police got word about a 10-month-old girl at Children’s Hospital in Chattanooga with severe bruising in her neck, back, and shoulders.

Detective Potter says Alexander is a family member, and was in charge of two children for a short period of time on Friday. 

When the mother returned home, Potter says Alexander ran away.

Dayton City Police located him later that night near the Walmart in Dayton.

According to Potter, the charge was filed as aggravated child abuse under Haley’s Law. Haley’s Law child abuse distinction has to have injuries considered ‘egregious and/or heinous’ in nature and the victim must be under 8 years old. That distinction changes a class-B felony to a class-A felony.

The child has since been released from Children’s Hospital. Potter says she has a fracture in one hand. She originally lost mobility in one leg, but that’s since been regained. She has a lot of severe bruising, but no skull fractures.

As for Alexander, he’s in the Rhea County Jail on a $100,000 bond. He’s due in court for a preliminary hearing on January 22nd.

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