Woman avoids jail time after injuring infant

Talisha Smith

A Richland County woman, accused of slapping and severely injuring a child in her care, will not face jail time.

The Columbia infant was hit so hard her brain shifted, leading to some physical problems which the child is still battling.

"I pray this doesn't happen to any other parent," said the mother of the child, Michelle Gaddie.

Michelle and Patrick Gaddie are referring to what they call the ultimate injustice for their 15-month-old daughter Kendra.

"I don't know what that was. This was an embarrassment, an embarrassment," said Michelle Gaddie.

"What will it take to have justice served? She almost killed a child," said Patrick Gaddie.

Monday, 26-year-old Talisha Smith was in a Richland County courtroom facing a possible 20 years in prison for abusing Kendra at her home day care center.

Smith plead guilty to the crime.

Judge Kenneth Goode gave Smith a 10-year suspended sentence. She will serve five years probation.

"Every person in America should be totally outraged by what just happened in that courtroom. It gives the wrong message of how we value our children," said Michelle Gaddie.

Smith was first charged in March 2008, when Michelle picked up her daughter from Smith's home day care.

She says Kendra was bruised and severely agitated. She took her daughter to the hospital, where doctors found Kendra was suffering from a shift in her brain and bleeding in her eyes. Kendra's parents say the little girl, now a toddler, can't speak and possibly faces a lifetime of rehabilitation.

"A lady is teaching her sign language to help us communicate with her. She has problems," said Michelle.

The Gaddie family says their daughter's life was changed in an instant. Now their mission is to change things for the better.

"It's all about Kendra, it's all about Kendra and our family," said Mr. Gaddie.

The judge ordered Talisha Smith to attend counseling. She must also register with the Department of Social Services, which prevents her from caring for children.