On June 29, 2009, Lee County Department of Human Resources, reported to the Lee County Sheriff's Office an incident of possible child abuse which had occurred at an address on Lee Road 2008 in Smiths. According to the report, a three week old baby girl had been taken to the Doctor's Hospital in Columbus, Georgia, by her parents. According to the parents, the child would not eat. An evaluation of the three week old child concluded that the child was suffering from intracranial hemorrhage. The child was transferred to Columbus Regional for further treatment. The Lee County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Human Resources combined their investigation into this reported crime.
On July 31, 2009, at approximately 9:00 AM/CST, the father of the child, Joseph A. Depalma, (22), of Smiths, was arrested by the Lee County Sheriff's Office and has been charged with Aggravated Child Abuse. Aggravated Child Abuse is a Class B felony. He is currently being held in the Lee County Detention Facility on a ($30,000.00) thirty thousand dollar bond.
The child has been released from the hospital and is currently in the care of the mother.