Mom, stepfather charged with willful abuse of infant

Published 3:58 pm Monday, November 13, 2023

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A month-long investigation by the Andalusia Police Department led to the arrests of a mother and stepfather for child abuse.

Investigator Al McGraw said the APD received an initial report on Oct. 17 of a four-month-old baby having a fractured rib. The child was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, where it was determined the infant indeed had three broken ribs on the same side of his body. The bones appeared to be broken in a linear pattern, doctors told investigators.

After a number of interviews with doctors, suspects and family members, it was determined that the department had probable cause for a warrant. It is believed the injuries occurred in August.

Joseph Anthony Garland, 35, and Cheyenne Justine Garland, 24, were arrested on Monday. Each was charged with willful abuse of a child, which is a Class C felony, and is being held on a $50,000 bond.

Investigator McGraw explained that the stepfather was charged for the commission of a crime, while the mother is charged for omission, for having failed to get the child medical care. The couple has separated since the investigation was opened, he said.

Capt. Brett Holmes commended Investigator McGraw for his work in the case.

“Al has countless man hours in this case,” Holmes said. “He has done a really good job in a complicated case. He had really good support from co-workers who picked up other cases so he could stay focused on this one. Thanks to his efforts, a baby boy is safer today.”