FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: DA called special Grand Jury to indict mother of baby mauled
BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — We have new information about the nine-day-old baby mauled to death by dogs in Bladen County.
In a story you saw FIRST ON 3 online yesterday, the mother of the baby girl was arrested last week and charged with involuntary manslaughter.
In a news release today District Attorney Jon David says he called for a special session of the Bladen County Grand Jury last week. Members of both the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office and the SBI testified before that grand jury, leading to the indictment of the baby’s mother.
“Something should have been done before now,” Clarkton resident Sandra Guyton said after learning about the arrest in the case. “I mean how long has it been since the child was attacked? I don’t know. It just seems something should have been done.”
In his news release David said his office has been working closely with both Bladen County Sheriff Prentis Benston and the SBI to determine what exactly happened to nine-day-old Addyson Camerino. The dogs involved in Addyson’s death August 30 lived in the same Clarkton home with the child’s mother, grandparents, uncles and an upstairs tenant.
“It was just a preventable accident unfortunately,” Clarkton resident Susan Butler said.
Guyton said, “Everyone there that was there and had the dogs around in the house, to me they’re all responsible.”
So far, the only person held responsible is Addyson’s mother, 18-year-old Chelsea Lynn Bridman. A special grand jury called to consider just this case indicted her last week on one charge of involuntary manslaughter. Deputies arrested Brigman Friday afternoon. A few hours later she walked out of the Bladen County Jail under a $50,000 bond.
In Clarkton, some folks wonder why it took so long for someone to be arrested when the incident happened nearly three weeks ago.
In his press release, David said, “The death of such a young child, by a group of dogs, is an emotionally charged event. It is for this reason that we decided to embark on a slow and deliberate process… Nobody who worked on the case had a predetermined view about the need to charge anyone in the name of holding someone responsible for this tragic loss.”
Because the case is pending, David said prosecutors and law enforcement cannot say much else about the investigation.
Here is David’s full news release:
Addyson Camerino, was mauled to death by dogs in Clarkton, North Carolina on August 30, 2011. Addyson was nine days old. The dogs lived in the same home as Addyson, together with her mother, grandparents, uncles, and an upstairs tenant. At an early stage of the investigation, Sheriff Prentis Benston contacted the District Attorney’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation. Our three agencies worked closely together
to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic incident.
As a team, we committed ourselves to following a tightly structured process. The first step in this process was to scrupulously investigate the facts. The crime scene was processed, photographs were taken, and numerous interviews were conducted. Next, we researched the controlling law. Our purpose was to determine whether anyone should be held criminally responsible for the death of Addyson. In making this determination we
elected to involve the community in the form of a grand jury.
On September 16, 2011, a special session of the Bladen County Grand Jury was convened to consider this case. Members of the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation testified before the Grand Jury. The District Attorney’s Office elected to employ a seldom used legal device known as a Presentment. A Grand Jury Presentment allows the State to present a detailed rendition of the facts. Following
this presentation, the Grand Jurors are asked whether or not anyone should be charged.
An Indictment is a charging instrument that accuses an individual with a crime. In this case, after hearing all of the evidence, the Grand Jurors requested that charges be brought forth. Superior Court Judge Jack Hooks gave the Grand Jurors detailed charging instructions regarding their role, and the law of Involuntary Manslaughter. Subsequently, the Grand Jury acted and Judge Hooks ordered the matter sealed until service of process. Everyone who worked on the investigation was impacted by the gruesome nature of the death. The death of such a young child, by a group of dogs, is an emotionally charged event. It is for this reason that we decided to embark on a slow and deliberate process. As a team, we were determined that there would be no rush to judgment, and that our decision to charge would be based on the facts and the law. Nobody who worked
on the case had a predetermined view about the need to charge anyone in the name of holding someone responsible for this tragic loss. Moreover, we determined that it was important to involve the community in the charging process. The Grand Jury has made their determination, and we respect their decision.
Prosecutors and law enforcement officers are bound by a code of ethics regarding what information they can share about a pending case. As a team, we are obligated to give those charged with a crime a fair process. Accordingly, in the future we are limited about what we can say about this matter.