Whitsett mother charged with child abuse after 2 babies hospitalized with serious injuries

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GIBSONVILLE, N.C. — A woman faces child abuse charges after two babies were taken to a hospital with severe injuries, according to Gibsonville police.

On Oct. 15, two children who were younger than 8 months old were being seen for routine care when they were moved to the emergency department of a local hospital for injuries consistent with recent physical abuse.

Medical staff had to perform surgery to treat life-threatening injuries.

One child had rib fractures and a subdural hemorrhage. The other had posterior rib fractures, a left radius fracture, subdural fluid hemorrhage and brain atrophy.

The children are all expected to recover from their injuries.

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Police were called in to investigate and were able to identify the children’s mother as a suspect.

Heaven Leigh Harlan, of Whitsett, was arrested on Wednesday. She was charged with two counts of felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury.

She received a $10,000 secured bond.

Neighbors who live nearby said they would see the children and the mother, but never thought they were in danger.

“I never would’ve guessed,” said Taylor Berkheiser, a concerned mom and neighbor.

“I’ve seen the woman before and like I said, I never see her outside. Not even a ‘hey’ or anything,” said Jessica Basave, another neighbor. “I even got chills because I trust the people over here and just to know that the people over here — just to know that something like that is going on, kind of freaked me out.”

The allegations are something people in this tight-knit community worry about, having children of their own.

“It’s definitely scary because they all play together and the parents all chip in together to help watch them play,” Berkheiser said. “We’ll come together and feed each other’s kids if they want snacks, drinks, stuff like that. They’re like a little family of children out here.”

When FOX8 went to Harlin’s home, there was no answer. Later on, her family told the crew the claims of child abuse were untrue.

“I thought the way the kids could come to my house, they could go to their house, you know, and be safe,” Berkheiser said

Anyone with information is urged to contact Gibsonville Police at (336) 449-6677. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call Alamance County Crimestoppers at (336) 229-7100 or Guilford County Crimestoppers at (336) 373-1000.

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