PEOPLE Explains: Case of Ga. Grandma Charged with Murder After Dogs Maul Toddler Grandson to Death

A 70-year-old Georgia grandmother was charged with murder earlier this week after authorities say two pit bulls in her home fatally mauled her young grandson outside.

Here are five things to know about the case.

1. Attack Happened While Grandma Was Babysitting and Tried to Stop It

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the boy, identified as 20-month-old Paris Adams, “suffered extensive injuries” despite his grandmother Sandra Adams’ attempts to shield him and pull the dogs away.

It appears the animals attacked Paris sometime Tuesday while Adams was babysitting him and the two were outside her home in Hartwell, Georgia, on the South Carolina border, the GBI said in a news release, citing a preliminary investigation.

As Adams was heading back inside, the dogs “ran out the back door, knocking Adams to the ground and attacking the child,” according to the bureau.

2. Grandma Faces Murder and Lesser Charges

Adams’ grandson was pronounced dead Tuesday afternoon after she and his mother took him to a local urgent care clinic, the GBI said.

Authorities were notified of the attack after a 911 call from the clinic. The boy’s body has since been sent for an autopsy.

Adams was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and two lesser offenses, involuntary manslaughter and cruelty to children in the second degree, the GBI said.

It was not immediately clear when Adams was taken into custody. The bureau said the investigation has included “extensive interviews with all family members.”

Adams has since posted bond, a jail official tells PEOPLE.

3. History of Problems with Dogs?

The GBI said “historical information indicates … had been cited on multiple occasions by the Hartwell Police Department under a city ordinance maintaining disorderly animals.”

Hartwell Police Chief Anthony Davis said officers previously responded to Adams’ home for nuisance calls about dogs barking and chasing people and running loose, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. But Davis told local TV station WSPA that police had not received reports of the dogs being aggressive.

Prosecutors declined to confirm on Wednesday if she owned the pit bulls at her home, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

4. Community ‘Is in Prayer’

“I think it kind of shocked a bunch of my officers that something like this happened,” Chief Davis told TV station WSB. “The community seems quiet right now. But I’m pretty sure, and I know right now, the community is in prayer for the family.”

A neighbor of Adams told WSB that they were grappling with the tragedy as well.

“Anytime anyone loses a child, it touches people’s hearts,” he said. “And I think my wife is still having a hard time with it.”

Efforts to reach Adams or the boy’s mother have been unsuccessful. It is unclear if Adams has entered a plea or retained an attorney.

5. Dogs Involved Will Be Put to Sleep: Report

Prosecutors said the dogs will be put down, according to the AJC. The GBI said Wednesday they were being held in separate kennels under observation.

Hartwell police referred questions to the GBI, and a bureau spokeswoman declined further comment.

The district attorney did not return a call.



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