Judge reduces bond for woman charged with child abuse

Mar. 05, 2013 @ 06:45 PM

A judge reduced the bond of a woman charged with intentional child abuse causing serious bodily injury and negligent supervision after he said it appeared the state did not have a very good case against the woman.

Catina Lloyd, 20, of Durham, is charged along with her co-defendant Aleisha Rhona Cuffy, 22, of Durham. Burns showed up on a toddler’s legs and buttocks while the girl was in their care last August.

Assistant District Attorney C. B. Kenney told Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson the child was in Lloyd’s care on August 8 until about 3 p.m. when Cuffy, the girl’s mother, arrived at the home.

When the father arrived to pick up the daughter at 11:30 p.m., he saw burns on the girl but the mother dismissed them as not significant. As he drove the girl home, he heard whimpering in the back seat. He and his mother checked the burns on the child’s legs and buttocks, and took the girl immediately to the hospital, Kenney said.

Upon investigation, police learned that after Cuffy arrived at the house, she and Lloyd were planning on going out that night. They were using hot curling irons to style their hair. Kenney said she suspects a curling or flat iron caused the burns, and two burns appeared to have been made on the inside of the girl’s legs.

“It looked like somebody closed her legs on the curling iron,” Kenney said.

Doctors found other burns on her lip, back, and buttocks, as well as an older burn on her lower back, Kenney said.

Cuffy suggested to investigators the little girl may have picked up the curling irons and burned herself with them, but doctors said a child likely wouldn’t have burned herself so many times or so deeply, It would have been too painful and the child would have immediately dropped the iron, Kenny told the judge.

The child spent several days in the UNC Burn Center and is now in the custody of the father and his mother, Kenney said. She still suffers pain from the burns, she said.

Warrants for the two women were drawn on Sept. 14, and it was difficult to find Lloyd, who did not cooperate with investigators, Kenney said. They are both being held in the Durham County Jail under a $100,000 bond.

Defense Attorney Matthew Cook asked Hudson to reduce Lloyd’s bond to $35,000 secured.

Cook said there was no direct evidence of who injured the child, but Cuffy told police the child was behaving normally when she got home that afternoon, which would indicate the injuries did not occur when Lloyd was alone with the child, he said.

The state could proceed on two different theories - that one of the adults inflicted the injuries or that the adults did not provide proper supervision of the child and she or another child in the home caused the injuries, Cook said.

Hudson said he was bothered by what appeared to be pre-existing injuries on the child but also said it didn’t appear the state had much evidence that Lloyd was responsible for the injuries. He set her bond at $35,000 secured and ordered her to stay away from the girl and her family and to not take care of any children.