Judge grants custody to Johns Island couple facing child abuse charges

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A Johns Island couple was granted custody of their child despite facing pending charges of unlawful conduct towards a child.

Attorney Ryan Schwartz said there were never any bruises or evidence of child abuse, and said the child had medical conditions.

Live 5 News talked with the father Joshua Coker and he said there are no words to describe what it’s like to him back and to be able to get back to their normal lives.

The child has been living with foster parents for nearly two years before the family court judge on Wednesday ordered that he be immediately returned to his parents.

Additionally, the judge ordered the Department of Social Services to pay for counseling services for the next year, according to Ryan Schwartz, the attorney representing Joyner and Coker.

In June of 2017, Joyner and Coker were arrested and charged with unlawful conduct towards a child after a medical exam showed their baby had suffered 16 fractures throughout his body according to affidavits.

Those documents also state between March 15 and May 7 of 2017, the two parents willfully placed their child at unreasonable risk of physical harm.

The baby was taken to St. Francis Emergency Room on May 7, 2017 because of a swollen leg but was transferred to the Medical University of South Carolina where multiple fractures were found in different stages of healing according to an affidavit.

The following day, officers were called to MUSC for a report of suspected child abuse.

According to the affidavit, the fractures were found at various areas of the baby’s body including the ribs, arm, leg and shoulder, and were caused by twisting and pulling, and not from an accidental fall.

Lab reports determined there was no evidence of bone disease, an affidavit said.

The baby was taken into protective custody and turned over to foster care.

Nearly two years later, the toddler has now been placed back in the parents’ custody.

A spokesperson for the solicitor’s office said the case against the parents is still pending. Schwartz said he is confident once they see the case and read the transcript that they will see this is not abuse.

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