A Tennessee woman was recently arrested after an incident in which an infant baby girl was repeatedly bitten, according to officials. The charges suggest an intergenerational pattern of family abuse.
Lisa Ashley, 20, stands accused of one count each of child abuse and child neglect, according to an affidavit filed by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office in Sessions Court and obtained by Law&Crime.
On July 6, a deputy arrived at the residence on Smith Jones Lane in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, a medium-sized bedroom community near Chattanooga, in response to child abuse concerns raised by the defendant’s father and stepmother, David and Jessica Ashley.
Jessica Ashley told the responding officer that the 4-month-old baby girl was being abused because she had seen “marks and bruises” on the child’s body and that she took pictures of those marks and bruises, the affidavit says. The couple went on to show the deputy photographic evidence of the alleged marks and bruises including “a bite mark” on the infant’s knee. Deputy Logan Faulkner goes on to write that he also “observed a bruise” on the baby girl’s face.
“David and Jessica advised me that Lisa was no longer living at the residence and that they are worried for the child’s wellbeing due to the incidents,” the court document reads. “David and Jessica advised me that Lisa is staying with a friend of hers.”
Jessica Ashley, the deputy wrote, also allegedly said the defendant had, at some point, admitted to biting her young daughter – and that Lisa Ashley had done so “before she even knew what she was doing.”
The next day, deputies made their way to the apartment where the defendant was staying with a friend and her husband.
“I observed the bruise [on the girl’s] face at this time,” Faulkner writes. “I asked Lisa if she knew about the bruises and the marks on [her daughter] and Lisa just kind of blew [the] questions off.”
The defendant went on to say she “had nothing to do with the bruises and that she did not know who bit” her daughter, the document says.
“I then asked to observe [redacted] to see if any of the bite marks or bruises were still on her,” the deputy writes in the affidavit. “I then observed the one on her cheek and I also observed the bite mark on her knee. I also observed a bruise on her bottom. They had all healed significantly when I observed them.”
The three adults living in the apartment where Lisa Ashley was staying then went on to say that everyone “loved and adored” the baby girl at issue and “they all made it very clear that they will take care of” the child, the deputy wrote.
Then, the defendant’s friend told the deputy that Lisa Ashley had been “abused verbally and physically” as a child by her own father and might still have the injuries to prove it, the affidavit says.
When quizzed by Faulkner about this, the defendant said she did, in fact, have a mark on her leg from some object, but one that she could not remember, that her father had thrown at her.
After that, Faulkner said, another deputy asked the infant’s mother “straight forward” if she had bit her daughter. Lisa Ashley allegedly responded “yes” and said that as soon as she had done so, “she felt instant guilt and began praying,” the document says. The defendant said she had done so “before she even knew what she was doing.”
“Lisa was asked if she was having any type of issues and she advised us that she is suffering from post partum [sic] depression,” Faulkner added.
The deputy then contacted Volunteer State child welfare agents, who arrived to take pictures and interview the defendant. She then allegedly admitted to biting her daughter on the face and knee. Her friend then allegedly admitted that she knew about those incidents to child welfare agents as well.
Lisa Ashley was arrested on July 7, the affidavit says. She was taken to the Hamilton County Jail without incident. Jail records reviewed by Law&Crime no longer show that she is being detained.
The sheriff’s office said they had no comment on this story due to the juvenile victim involved, a spokesperson told Law&Crime.