BOSSIER PARISH, LA — A Bossier City mother and her live-in boyfriend have been arrested after the woman's 4-year-old daughter was taken to a local hospital with serious head trauma.
According to the Bossier Sheriff's Department, emergency medical personnel responded to the house of Rebecca Smith, 29, and her live-in boyfriend, Joshua L. Hastings, 33, in the 3200 block of Clover Lane early Tuesday afternoon. Hastings was watching the girl and two other young children while Smith was away. During that time, the girl became unresponsive after Hastings “accidentally” hit her in the head with his knee, causing her to lose consciousness. The child was taken to a local hospital where she underwent emergency brain surgery; she is currently listed in critical condition.
After interviewing Hastings, detectives determined abuse was involved. Hastings admitted to beating the little girl with a belt on July 26, causing bruises to her legs and bottom. He also admitted to hitting her in the head and face with his hand, causing severe bruising and a black eye on July 27. Police also executed a search warrant at their house and found a bag containing marijuana and rolling papers with suspected marijuana. He was charged with two counts of second degree cruelty to a juvenile, one count of cruelty to a juvenile, possession of marijuana (3rd offense), possession of drug paraphernalia and three counts of a controlled dangerous substance in the presence of a minor.
Detectives interviewed Smith, the girl’s mother, on Wednesday afternoon and brought charges against her for failure to get medical attention for the alleged ongoing abuse. Smith was charged with one count of second degree cruelty to a juvenile, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and three counts of a controlled dangerous substance in the presence of a minor.
Additional charges may be brought as the investigation continues.
Hastings and Smith were taken to the Bossier Maximum Security Facility. Hastings bond was set at $1,113,500, while Smith’s bond is pending. Both of Smith’s two young girls are in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services, while the third child at the house, a young son of Hastings’, is with family members.
Abuse or neglect on children and the elderly are cases that law enforcement agencies take very seriously. “If you suspect your child has been abused or neglected, don’t hesitate to contact authorities immediately,” said Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington. “Protecting our children is near and dear to my heart, and I’ll do everything in my power as Sheriff to stop such abuse and bring those to justice who engage in this heinous activity.”
To report abuse, you can contact your Bossier Sheriff’s Office at 965-2203 or you can call the Department of Children and Family Services hotline at 855-452-5437 anytime. Reporting any suspicious activity may protect a child and get help for the family.