Hamblen Co. woman charged with abuse, neglect after toddler's death

A Hamblen County woman is charged with child abuse and neglect after a two-year-old boy wandered off and died while in her care. 

According to the Hamblen County Sheriff's Department, Rosa Rea, 61, of Morristown, was taking care of two-year-old Joseph Williams on Saturday, Oct. 22, when the boy wondered off from his home. He was later found dead in a pond about a quarter-mile from the home.

Rea waited over an hour to contact local authorities when Williams went missing, according to the Hamblen County Sheriff's Department. Rea is the boy's legal guardian.

The sheriff's office said they learned during their investigation that Williams had wandered off "several other different times" and been found by neighbors.

Rea is charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect. She is being held in the Hamblen County Jail on $500,000 bond.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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