The father of a 2-year-old Laurens boy who was rushed to the hospital last week after being found unresponsive in a home filled with dead and neglected animals was charged, Live5 News reported August 6. Examiner first reported the horrific situation found after the boy’s mother called 911 from her Martin’s Lake Road home in Gray Court on July 28.
Laurens County Sheriff’s Office deputies confirmed Thursday that the children’s father faces charges in the case. Matthew Batton, 25, was charged with three counts of unlawful neglect of a child and one count of animal cruelty. Batton was arrested August 1 and released Sunday on a $35,000 bond. Deputies reported the mother of the children, Savanah Morgan, 25, was at the home with two other children when police arrived.
Morgan first told Lauren’s County deputies the child had choked on chips, then later claimed she had dropped him. Visible injuries conflicted with Morgan’s statement and showed the child had been battered and bruised. He was transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital where his condition is unknown. The other two children in the home are in DSS custody.
Laurens County Animal Control was on the scene following dozens of dead and neglected animals being found. Approximately 90 animals were found at the home, including six dead spiders, two dead bearded dragons, ten dead pythons, 11 dead gerbils and 48 dead rats. Dogs, cats, and turtles were also taken from the property.
GoLaurens.com reported August 4 that should Morgan meet her $85,000 bail she is to have no contact with her children without DSS permission and is forbidden to own any animals until the case is settled. Morgan was charged with child abuse, animal cruelty and three counts of child neglect.