RICHLAND COUNTY -- Two Richland County parents are charged with homicide by child abuse in the death of a 4-year-old boy.
Courtney Shante Thompson, 25, and Robert Antonio Guinyard, 28, were both booked at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on the homicide charges as well as charges of unlawful conduct towards a child.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts says the child died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head and body.
According to the Richland County Sheriff's Department, their investigation led to the determination that the child endured pain and suffering no child should have to experience. According to Deputy Curtis Wilson the child was autistic.
"When you have a child that's special needs or even a child that's healthy your heart goes out to a child that is injured in an act of violence," said Wilson.
"It's challenging to raise a child in general the autism just plays a different role in a child's development, so at times it definitely takes more patience," said Margie Williamson.
Williamson is the executive director of The ARC Of South Carolina a non-profit that helps people with disabilities.
She says there are several options for children with special needs including the SC Department of Disabilities and Special Needs where you can receive a service coordinator who can help parents determine what type of care is best for their child.
"Service coordinators can come in to the home assist with finding resources that would elevate some of the frustration from parents," said Williamson.
"Make a phone call talk to someone because this way incidents like this don't have to happen," adds Wilson.
Deputies say prior to the death of the 4 year old, 5 other children were with various family members; a newborn that was in the home at the time of the incident was taken into protective custody.