Tests rule out drugs as factor in child's death

Relates to:
Date: 2008-10-09

Tests rule out drugs as factor in child's death

Foster mom not under influence

October 9, 2008
Merritt Melancon
Jackson County foster mother Wendy Osborne was not under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol when she left her 9-month-old foster daughter sitting in a hot car for more than two hours last month, according to recently completed toxicology tests.

The child, Jessica Scovil, died of heat stroke while her foster mother and two older children were inside Osborne's house.

Jackson County Sheriff's Office investigators were waiting to decide whether to press charges against Osborne until the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab completed toxicology tests on Osborne. The results of the those tests came back Wednesday and showed that Osborne was clean when the toddler died, said Chief Deputy David Cochran.

Cochran is waiting to meet with Jackson County District Attorney Rick Bridgeman before deciding whether to move forward with charges, he said Thursday.

Osborne told sheriff's investigators that she came home from a doctor's appointment shortly before 3 p.m. Sept. 2, unloaded two adopted 3-year-old girls from the van and went inside her Nicholson-area home.

Once inside, Osborne lay down for a nap while the other two children played.

She woke up about 5 p.m., Cochran said, and rushed outside to find Jessica unresponsive in her car seat.

By the time paramedics responded to Osborne's home on Georgia Highway 334, Jessica was dead.

Jessica's birth parents, Jefferson couple Robert Scovil and Evelyn Carter, had wanted to see Osborne prosecuted for neglect. Their lawyer did not return telephone calls seeking comment Thursday.

Scovil and Carter were very close to reclaiming custody of their daughter when she died, the attorney, Crandall Heard, said last month.

Heard, a public defense attorney serving Barrow, Jackson and Banks counties, would not say why Scovil and Carter lost custody of Jessica, but he did say it wasn't related to any type of criminal charges, substance abuse or physical abuse.


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