Scott County mother convicted for blinding baby

Rain Smith • Nov 5, 2018 at 4:53 PM

GATE CITY — A Duffield, Va., woman has been convicted for child abuse and neglect, according to prosecutors, with the injuries her 1-year-old son suffered leading to blindness.

Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Dan Fellhauer reports Ashley Marie Cowan, 27, pled no contest to the charges last week. In doing so, she avoided a jury trial set for later this month.

As previously reported by the Times News, an investigation was launched on April 5. It was spurred by Cowan’s son being treated for bilateral retinal hemorrhages at Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City.

Additional medical exams revealed what appeared to be numerous non-accidental subdural bilateral hematomas, or brain bleeds, resulting in blindness.

When questioned at the hospital by social workers, Cowan reportedly attacked them. She was subsequently convicted for those assaults, then indicted in July for abuse of her son.

Cowan has been incarcerated since that time. She has a sentencing hearing early next year in the Scott County Circuit Court and faces 15 years in the Virginia Department of Corrections.

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