Taisha A. Moody, age 39, was charged May 17 with one count of murder or homicide by child abuse, plus four additional counts of unlawful harm, risk of harm or willful abandonment of a child, according to court records obtained Monday.
Aria Moody, age 6, died from drowning on April 30 after she was swept away in the current while swimming at Mars Oldfield Landing on the Edisto River in Colleton County. The girl's body was not recovered until Tuesday, May 2, after three days of searching by several agencies.
Arrest affidavits show a Colleton County Sheriff's Office detective sought arrest warrants for Taisha Moody on May 13 based on witness statements and evidence suggesting the woman left 6-year-old Aria and her four siblings unsupervised to play in the river without personal floatation devices (life vests) and knowing none of the children could swim.
Further details have not been made public regarding the circumstances of the incident or what other information and facts led to the charges. The Colleton County Sheriff's Office has not provided documents or further information about the case despite several requests.
Court records show an agent from the S.C. Dept. of Social Services has been assigned to the case.
A criminal history check provided by the State Law Enforcement Division shows Taisha Moody was previously convicted of unlawful conduct toward a child in 2012. She was sentenced to 18 months of probation with an 18-month prison sentence suspended in consideration of time already served in jail prior to her conviction.
Moody remains in jail at the Colleton County detention center awaiting a preliminary hearing in front of a circuit court judge, at which time the judge may consider setting bond on the homicide by child abuse charge. Her initial appearance date is set for July 14.
Moody previously went before a magistrate on May 17, at which time bond was set at $125,000 on one of the four child neglect charges. Magistrate Sophia Henderson did not set bond on the other three neglect charges, and magistrates by law cannot set bond for defendants accused of violent felonies in South Carolina.
South Carolina law says homicide by child abuse occurs when someone causes the death of a child under the age of 11 by physical injury, neglect of the child's health or abandonment the child. The crime is felony and carries a sentence of 20 years to life in prison if the suspect is convicted or pleads guilty.
Aria Moody was the first of two young people who've drowned in the Edisto River recently. A teenager named Luis Rodriguez-Garcia, of North Charleston, drowned near Givhans Ferry State Park on May 14.