Judge Wijewickrama finds probable cause
The case involving a Dillsboro woman who allegedly assaulted her granddaughter earlier this month progressed to Superior Court after District Court Judge Roy Wijewickrama found probable cause for all charges last week.
Lisa Plank Hart, 45, of Cat Tail Drive, faces felony counts of child abuse with serious bodily injury, assault inflicting serious bodily injury, and negligent child abuse with serious bodily injury. Prosecutors were able to gather enough evidence last week to bind Hart to a Superior Court probable cause hearing on Oct. 26.
Hart’s charges stem from an incident that occurred on Aug. 31, when Jackson County Sheriff’s Officers responded to a report of an unconscious 28-month-old female child. Deputies were assisted by Med West Emergency Medical Services and Sylva Fire Department First Responders.
According to Hart’s arrest warrant, the granddaughter came to stay with her on Aug. 29. Around that time, Hart told authorities a dog had knocked the child down, which resulted in severe injuries to her head and left leg. It wasn’t until Aug. 31 that the grandmother had called for medical assistance for her granddaughter, who was later airlifted to Mission Hospital in Asheville with the help of Med West paramedics.
According to a JCSO press release, investigators within the Sheriff’s Office, Department of Social Services, and doctors from Mission Hospital are still investigating the incident to determine how the child came to be unconscious. As of Monday, the granddaughter was discharged, and according to Mission Hospital, the child was in “fair condition.”
On Sept. 2, Jackson reportedly obtained a warrant for Hart’s arrest. According to reports, Hart was the child’s grandmother and was providing care for the child at the time of the assault that allegedly led to the child becoming unconscious.
“The investigation shows the grandmother not only assaulted the juvenile child leading to the documented injuries, but also failed to obtain timely medical assistance for those injuries sustained which delayed necessary medical aid for the juvenile child,” read the release.
According to authorities, Hart was arrested at Mission Hospital, with assistance from the Asheville Police Department.
Hart’s bond was increased to $125,000 last week, after prosecutors were able to establish probable cause in the case. The suspect remains in the custody of the Jackson County Detention Center. Attorney John Barrett was appointed to represent Hart. The suspect is scheduled to appear in Superior Court on Oct. 26.
“This case is still under investigation and no further comment or statements will be given until such time is appropriate,” said a statement by JCSO. More coverage of this matter will be reported as developments become known.