Justice will be served… A sensitive case involving assaulted juvenile being diligently worked

Published 4:52 pm Friday, July 23, 2021

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A local case involving a juvenile being assaulted by other juveniles is racing across social media platforms as well as local media outlets quicker than the wildfires burning in the west with outcries for a swift and immediate response from local law authorities.

However, the delicate case is one that Elizabethton Police Chief Jason Shaw wants the public to know that the process of interviewing, reviewing recorded video and photos, and gathering statements are one that requires patience and understanding from the family as well as the public in general.

The case involves a call received by the Elizabethton Police Department on July 19 on Bluefield Avenue in reference to an assault that had just occurred.

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The Communications Center advised that the caller had stated that multiple teenagers had beat up her daughter.

Upon arrival, the officers noted obvious bruising and swelling to her face, arms, and legs. Responding officers took photographs of the juvenile. Due to the nature of the call, the responding EPD officers turned the case over to the Criminal Investigation Division.

Many feel like officials should have taken immediate action against the suspects but according to Chief Shaw, with the seriousness of the case, everything is being done to properly investigate the case and handle it properly for all parties involved.

“It is a situation that we are taking seriously and doing what we need to be doing,” stated Chief Shaw. “We are working with the District Attorney’s Office, Juvenile Court, and Child Protective Services to do what is needed to be done to handle the case appropriately.

“One of the key components in a case like this is the interview with the victim and that was conducted this morning (Friday). That was coordinated through all those partners and the Child Advocacy Center to have specially trained interviewers in that special setting for a child of that age.”

Chief Shaw stated that he understood the public demands that those responsible face immediate repercussions. However, to make a quick reaction would jeopardize any charges that will be brought and whom those charges are brought against.

“We see the videos, we see bruises, we get some initial information, but we have to be careful and make sure we do what we need to do,” Chief Shaw commented. “If we rush something and make the wrong charge and miss some technicality, then later on in court that could do damage to the case.”

The mother of the juvenile reached out to local news media and the social platform Facebook asking for a quicker response to the travesty that occurred to her child from law enforcement.

Chief Shaw said that after Friday’s interview with her daughter, the mother had some of her concerns clarified in how all parties are responding to the case.

“We talked to the mother just a little bit ago after they got home from the interview and I think after that interview she had more understanding on what we were trying to do with the situation,” stated Chief Shaw.

“We just can’t rush into something and make a mistake.”

Chief Shaw blames a lot of the frustrations that many have had with the case on television shows they watch where when a crime is committed, the handcuffs are immediately slapped on.

However, in real-life situations, especially one that requires sensitivity like this one, that is not the case.

“Seeing something on the internet and expecting to see an immediate action take place is not like on television,” Chief Shaw added.

The Elizabethton Star will follow the case and provide updates as they are received.