Two accused of child abuse after toddler hurt for taking snack without permission

Chandler Reece Simmons and Heidi Yvette Herring (Photo: CCSO / MGN)

WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — Two people have been charged with child abuse after a toddler was reportedly hit multiple times for taking a snack without asking for permission, according to deputies.

On September 30, the mother of a three-year-old boy contacted Columbus County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Social Services in reference to child abuse.

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On September 29, the mother reportedly picked up the child from visitation with his father, Chandler Reece Simmons, 24 and his girlfriend, Heidi Yvette Herring, 53. The child was in their care from September 19 to September 29, when the mother picked up the child after Simmons was arrested for unrelated charges, according to CCSO.

Deputies say the child had severe bruising on his buttocks and lower back and the mother sought medical care for the toddler’s injuries.

“Columbus County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division interviewed both Simmons and Herring in reference to the allegations,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a news release. “A forensic interview with the child was also completed. Through the investigation, it was discovered that while in Herring’s care, the child obtained a snack cake on his own without asking for permission. As a result, Herring struck the child repeatedly, causing his injuries. Simmons was allegedly asleep at the time of the incident. However, once he observed the bruising, he failed to seek medical attention for the child or call law enforcement.”

On October 22, Herring was arrested at Columbus County Sheriff’s Office and charged with misdemeanor child abuse. She was given an unsecured bond and released.

Simmons was served a criminal summons for misdemeanor child abuse.

The toddler is in the care and custody of his mother.