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Three arrested in connection with death of Wilson child facing charges for child abuse

Sierra Rains
The Daily Ardmoreite
Shannon Smith
James Smith
Frank Smith

Three people arrested in connection with the death of a 3-year-old in Wilson last week are now facing charges for child abuse. 

One felony count for child abuse was filed against the child’s aunt, Shannon Michelle Smith, 29, the child's father, James Daren Smith, 23, and the child’s uncle, Frank James Smith, 24, on Monday, Aug. 3. 

District Attorney Craig Ladd said the charges filed against the individuals were based upon the evidence available to the district attorney’s office at the time of the filing. The incident is currently under investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and further, or more severe, charges are possible. 

“Once the OSBI completes its investigation and submits its final report, including a summary of the autopsy stating the official cause of (the victim’s) death, there is a definite possibility that the charges will be amended to some form of homicide, should the evidence indicate a connection between the abuse or neglect and the child’s cause of death,” Ladd said. 

Oklahoma state law considers both the physical abuse of a child and failing to protect a child living in one's home from physical abuse as “child abuse”. 

Wilson police responded to the Smiths' residence at around 12 p.m. on July 30 in reference to a call concerning a 3-year-old child that had allegedly fallen out of a crib and was unresponsive. Wilson Chief of Police Kevin Coley said the child was located with a head injury, lacerations on his body and bruises from head to toe. 

The child was reportedly not responding at the time and was rushed to Mercy Hospital Healdton, where he was declared deceased. The OSBI took over the case after assisting the Wilson Police Department with the investigation. 

Three other children who had been living at the residence were reportedly removed by DHS, Coley said. All three individuals are currently being held at the Carter County jail with a bond of $500,000 each. The suspects are scheduled to appear in court in September.