Woman charged in child abuse case gets lower bond


Samantha Sue Laverty of Midway, charged with felony counts of battery and endangering the welfare of a minor stemming from injuries sustained by her 18-month-old daughter, was back in Baxter County Circuit Court Thursday.

Laverty's attorney asked the court to lower his client's $25,000 bond. He said Laverty had been in the Baxter County jail for two months and 10 days because she was unable to post the bond as originally set.

David Ethredge, 14th Judicial District prosecuting attorney, said one of the state's main concerns was protecting the alleged victim in the case. The child is in the care of the Department of Human Services, Ethredge told the court.

Circuit Judge Gordon Webb approved a bond of $15,000. Under the new bond arrangement, Laverty will not be allowed to have any contact with the child victim, and any effort to contact the child would have to go through her attorney.

According to the Baxter County Sheriff's Office jail log, Laverty was released at 7:15 p.m. Thursday.

The investigation into the child's injuries began in mid-September when the Baxter County Sheriff's Office received a call from Baxter Regional Medical Center reporting suspicious injuries to a young female child.

The child was later transferred to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, where she was treated for her injuries, including a broken femur. The medical staff at Children's also expressed "great concern" for multiple bruises on the little girl's face.

In addition to her injuries, the child tested positive for high levels of several drugs, including methamphetamine. Staff at Children's Hospital reported the amount of methamphetamine in the girl's system was 150 times more than is required to show positive results for drugs in the body.

According to court records, the 21-year-old Laverty is said to have told several conflicting stories of how the injuries to the child occurred. Investigators said the little girl's injuries were not consistent with any of the various stories told by Laverty.

During her initial court appearance, Laverty denied injuring her child, disavowed using drugs around the child and entered a not guilty plea to the charges against her.

Laverty's live-in boyfriend at the time of the incident, Harvey Lee Honeycutt III, was also arrested in September when a Baxter County deputy sheriff and a bail bond company agent went to the home he shared with Laverty along Highway 126 North.

The boyfriend faces charges of possessing methamphetamine and failing to appear for a scheduled court date. Honeycutt also entered a not guilty plea to the charges against him.

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