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Couple charged with abuse, neglect of child

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By Deidre Wilson

The Jacksboro Police Department arrested a couple last week after a 5-year-old child was found with injuries believed to be the result of physical abuse.

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Zachary Chase Crawford, 19, was arrested on Aug. 22 and charged with aggravated child abuse.

Arrest reports state he is the live-in boyfriend of the child’s mother, Danielle Denise Hale, 20, who was arrested on Aug. 23 and charged with aggravated child neglect.

According to arrest reports, officers were dispatched to the couple’s home in Jacksboro to conduct a welfare check on the child.

“Officers on scene observed severe bruising to the victim on [the child’s] buttocks, feet, thighs, neck and arms,” a police report written by JPD Chief Danny Chapman states.

According to the report, it was determined that the child had been alone under Crawford’s care.

Chapman writes that Crawford told police he had used “severe physical discipline” on the child by strking the child with an open palm, and a riding crop and “by mouth using his teeth.”

He also allegedly told officers that he had used his legs to strangle the child, causing blood vessels to burst in the child’s eyes.

The child was transported to the emergency room at Tennova LaFollette Medical Center for medical treatment and later to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital for further evaluation.

Chapman said the child is safe.

According to the report, the abuse of the child was alleged to occurred between the dates of Aug. 9 through Aug. 15.

Chapman writes in Hale’s arrest report that she told officers she had observed injuries to the child on three separate dates and “instructed [Crawford] to stop as each incident got worse.”

Hale was charged with aggravated child neglect for failure to protect the child as well as failing to seek medical treatment for the child’s injuries.

Crawford was being held on a $500,000 bond as of Wednesday. Hale’s bond was set at $100,000.

Both are scheduled to appear in Campbell County General Sessions Court today (Thursday.)