Darlington County Sheriff's Office sees success with special vic - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Darlington County Sheriff's Office sees success with special victims unit

The home the DCSO made the arrests on Sweetbay Drive in Darlington County. (Source: Audrey Biesk) The home the DCSO made the arrests on Sweetbay Drive in Darlington County. (Source: Audrey Biesk)

DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Darlington County Sheriff's Office's special victims unit arrested a couple who allegedly abused five children.

Sheriff Tony Chavis took office in January 2017 and created the SVU shortly thereafter. During an investigation like the one with 44-year-old James Hawkins and 22-year-old Ida Gregg, DCSO officials said it’s vital to have victims' advocates to help properly prosecute these cases.

"If you beat your wife, if you beat your children, if you victimize vulnerable adults, this unit is going to lock you up and put you in jail, and this activity is not going to be tolerated any longer," said DCSO Lt. Robert Kilgo. 

Kilgo said the unit consists of six officers either assigned to sex offender, child abuse, domestic violence or venerable adults cases, and all are certified victims advocates.

In this past weekend's case, Hawkins and Gregg were arrested after investigators were called to Sweetbay Road in Darlington County near Mechanicsville Highway.

“Our officers have done EPC, or emergency protective custody, so we have ensured these children are taken into the custody of the Department of Social Services,” Kilgo said.

DSS officials were the first to report the child abuse to the sheriff’s office. They showed the investigators alleged bruises and bloody bandages on the children’s’ bottoms, the incident reporter stated.

There were reportedly scars on one boy’s back, a hole in the back of one of the girl’s heads from a wooden paddle striking her while being tied up with duct tape, a black eye on one child, and scars on the kids’ legs from electrical cords hitting them, the report said.

Investigators said the children all smelled like they hadn’t showered and were starving.

Neighbors around Sweetbay Road said they did not know the couple and were not aware of what DCSO said was going on there. The alleged child abuse occurred between April and July at multiple residences in Darlington County.

"They went beyond what anybody should do to a child and that’s why we have this special victims unit, to ensure these cases are thoroughly vetted, thoroughly investigated, so our people can focus on these things and put these people in jail that do these things to vulnerable victims such as children," Kilgo said.

Back in June 2015, James Hawkins was charged with four counts of unlawful neglect of a child, but the solicitor’s office declined to prosecute all the charges, according to information from the state's public index.

On Oct. 11, both Hawkins and Gregg will have their first court appearance at the Darlington County Courthouse.

Related story: 

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsLocalMore>>

  • J Peters Grill and Bar coming to Murrells Inlet

    J Peters Grill and Bar coming to Murrells Inlet

    Wednesday, October 18 2017 8:52 AM EDT2017-10-18 12:52:31 GMT
    (Source: J Peters Grill and Bar on Facebook)(Source: J Peters Grill and Bar on Facebook)

    J Peters Bar and Grill is coming to the Murrells Inlet. WMBF News has learned the restaurant is making plans to move into the recently-closed Applebee's location at the Inlet Square Mall in Murrells Inlet.

    More >>

    J Peters Bar and Grill is coming to the Murrells Inlet. WMBF News has learned the restaurant is making plans to move into the recently-closed Applebee's location at the Inlet Square Mall in Murrells Inlet.

    More >>
  • Cut in cost-sharing reduction payments could affect thousands of patients in South Carolina

    Cut in cost-sharing reduction payments could affect thousands of patients in South Carolina

    Wednesday, October 18 2017 8:33 AM EDT2017-10-18 12:33:33 GMT
    (Source: WMBF News)(Source: WMBF News)

    As many as 200,000 patients in South Carolina could be affected by President Trump’s decision to end cost-sharing reductions, according to Dr. Gerald Harmon, chair of the board of the American Medical Association. Cost-sharing reductions are discounts on things like co-payments and deductibles for people living in the 250 percent under the federal poverty level.

    More >>

    As many as 200,000 patients in South Carolina could be affected by President Trump’s decision to end cost-sharing reductions, according to Dr. Gerald Harmon, chair of the board of the American Medical Association. Cost-sharing reductions are discounts on things like co-payments and deductibles for people living in the 250 percent under the federal poverty level.

    More >>
  • Suspect Search: Men wanted for domestic violence, harassment

    Suspect Search: Men wanted for domestic violence, harassment

    Wednesday, October 18 2017 7:51 AM EDT2017-10-18 11:51:24 GMT
    (Source: HCSO)(Source: HCSO)

    Two suspects are profiled in this week’s Horry County Suspect search - see you can help officials with the Horry County Sheriff’s Office track them down.

    More >>

    Two suspects are profiled in this week’s Horry County Suspect search - see you can help officials with the Horry County Sheriff’s Office track them down.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly