KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Kentucky woman has been indicted following the death of a 17-month-old girl at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital on July 30.

Erica Lawson, of Middlesboro, Kentucky, was indicted on Aug. 22 by a Bell County Grand Jury following the death of her child, per court paperwork.

According to Bell County Commonwealth Attorney Lisa Fugate, the child had signs of physical and sexual abuse. The girl was taken to the children’s hospital on July 28, where the hospital staff attempted to save her by putting her on life support. She died on July 30 due to the severity of her injuries.

Lawson was arrested in connection with the child’s death on July 30. She was originally charged with second-degree manslaughter, failure to report child neglect/abuse, first-degree criminal abuse against a child under 12, and first-degree wanton endangerment. Her case was bound over to a grand jury on Aug. 8.


The recent indictment upgraded her charges to murder, failure to report child dependency, neglect, or abuse, and first-degree wanton endangerment.

The Department of Child Services is assisting the Middlesboro Police Department in the investigation. MPD is also gathering DNA evidence to assist officers in “bringing the culprits to justice.”