Grandparents speak out after grandchild dies from abuse - CBS46 News

Grandparents speak out after grandchild dies from abuse

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CARTERSVILLE, GA (CBS46) -

More than 100 people attended a vigil in Cartersville Sunday night for a 1-year-old who died from injuries suffered from abuse.

Journey Ann Cowart's paternal grandparents want to remember her smiling. The little girl turned 1-year-old earlier this month, shortly before she died.

Her grandparents threw her a big birthday party, but Journey Ann's mother never brought her over. Mellodie and Allen Hunt now suspect it was because Journey Ann had been abused.

"I can't wrap my mind around that someone did that to a baby," said Mellodie Hunt.

Her mother and boyfriend brought Journey Ann not breathing to the emergency room, where she was declared dead, according to Bartow County investigators.

The Hunts said the autopsy revealed the child had healed from previous injuries but had fresh broken bones and internal injuries that included a laceration to the liver.

Brandy Boyd, 25, who is Journey Ann's mother, and Boyd's boyfriend, Austin Payne, 25, are charged with aggravated battery and child cruelty. The sheriff's office expects more charges will be filed.

"It's supposed to be your natural instinct as mother to protect her," said Allen Hunt.

Journey Ann's father, Blake Cowart, drowned last April in the Etowah River. They said Journey Ann looked just like him.

After his death, they said they had to fight to see the baby every month. Several times they said they saw bruises and questioned the mom.

"Explained it away, said she fell and hit her head on the bed," said Allen Hunt.

"I don't know how you get to the place of forgiveness for something so evil," said Mellodie Hunt. "If I did not have my faith in Jesus Christ I would not make it. This is horrible."

The Hunts are trying to get custody of Journey Ann's remains to bury her next to their son.

Boyd and Payne are being held in jail without bond.

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