Rogersville  mother charged with aggravated child abuse

A Rogersville mother is facing aggravated child abuse in connection with the death of her infant son in 2019.

A sealed Hawkins County Grand Jury indictment during an Aug. 17 meeting charged Jennifer Elise Smith, of Locust Street, with aggravated child abuse in the death of her son, eight-month-old Malcom Xavier Smith, due to injuries on or around June 26-30, 2019. Aggravated child abuse is a Class A felony under Tennessee’s Haley’s Law aggravated child abuse definitions.

According to the warrant, Deputy Jesse Williams, of the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office, was called to the Hawkins County Justice Center to meet with Tennessee Department of Children’s Services Case Manager Jessica Wilder concerning child abuse that had taken place involving Malcom Xavier Smith. Wilder said that Malcom was taken to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital on June 30, 2019 and placed on a feeding tube due to possible shaken baby syndrome. Wilder was told that the mother, Jennifer Smith, and the father, Andrew Smith, were at the residence with other children.

When Williams and Wilder went to the residence on Howes Chapel Road, Jennifer Smith was at the residence, but Andrew Smith was not. A grandmother was at the residence with the other children. DCS advised Williams that the other children appeared to be in good health and there were no visible signs of abuse.

Malcolm Xavier Smith died from his injuries on July 15, 2019. Jennifer Smith could face 15 to 25 years in prison if convicted, but has to serve 85 percent of her sentence before becoming eligible for parole. She is being held at Hawkins County Jail on $100,000 bond with arraignment scheduled in Hawkins County Criminal Court on Oct. 9.