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By Jimmy Espy

Correspondent

TRION, Ga. -- A Chattooga County couple was arrested Tuesday and charged with first-degree cruelty to children after emergency room personnel discovered multiple injuries to their 3-month-old daughter.

Luke Cody Campbell, 24, and Tina Machelle Campbell, 20, of 55 W. Pine St. in Trion, were jailed after a monthlong investigation by the Chattooga County Sheriff's Office.

Tina Campbell was released on $30,000 bond, authorities said. Luke Cody Campbell, who was on probation for an earlier forgery conviction, still is in jail.

Both parents have told law enforcement officials they do not know how the child was injured.

Records show that on Dec. 7, Mrs. Campbell took her daughter to Hutcheson Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe with a head injury that included swelling behind an ear. Hospital personnel were suspicious and contacted the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department.

Chattooga officials were called in after it was determined that the child lived in Trion and that any injuries likely occurred there.

The child was taken to Scottish Rite Children's Hospital in Atlanta the same day, and Chattooga County Investigator Mark Schrader drove there to interview the child's parents.

Mr. Schrader said he also interviewed other family members who lived in the same house and found out from hospital officials that the child showed clear signs of other "healing injuries" to several ribs and her collarbone. When he reinterviewed the parents, Mr. Schrader said, they gave "some conflicting statements."

The child recovered quickly and was put into foster care in a few days. She is doing well, Mr. Schrader said.

After consulting with the local district attorney and getting more medical reports from doctors, Mr. Schrader contacted the Campbells and asked them to turn themselves in Tuesday. They did.

"They have been very cooperative," Mr. Schrader said. "They knew they were probably going to be arrested at some point."

Jimmy Espy is based in Whitfield County. E-mail him at hoodcsa@aol.com.

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