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Updated: Orangeburg mother charged with murder in teen’s death; attorney says no medical evidence of crime
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Updated: Orangeburg mother charged with murder in teen’s death; attorney says no medical evidence of crime

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An Orangeburg mother is accused of killing her 16-year-old daughter by withholding medical care. The teen’s grandmother is charged with neglect.

But the women’s attorney says the disabled child lived longer than expected and died of natural causes.

“The fact is, the child died because she was not expected to live past age 1,” attorney Lawrence Keitt said during a court hearing Wednesday.

“She was 16 when she died. She had very serious medical problems and those problems were the cause of her death,” he said. “The coroner had an autopsy done. The child was found to have died from natural causes, so they have no medical evidence that there was anything wrong with this child.”

The sheriff’s office charged Kynika Green, 32, of Beason Road with murder in the April 30 death of T’Kia Smith. Dasie Green, 64, is charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

Smith shared a home with her mother and grandmother, warrants state.

“This is a tragic, tragic situation no matter how you see it,” Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said.

“There were other children in the home. They lost a sister. No winners here,” he said.

Kynika Green’s warrant accuses her of “repeatedly withholding medical care” from Smith beginning on the day she was born on Nov. 22, 2002 until her death on April 30, 2019.

That alleged neglect ultimately caused Smith’s death, the warrant says.

Dasie Green’s warrant accuses her of placing her grandchild “in physical harm by neglecting her medical needs.”

Investigator Andy Hayes described the investigation as lengthy, hard and “very extensive.”

He noted that the S.C. Law Enforcement Division’s juvenile death team assisted in the investigation.

Keitt said the child was misdiagnosed.

“Trouble is, none of the doctors who misdiagnosed her condition is here, so if they really want to bring charges against anybody, they would bring it against the doctors, not the parents, but apparently that’s not the case here,” he said.

“They like to persecute the mother because on the day of the funeral they called her down to try to answer some questions so they could finish this investigation,” he said.

Keitt said officials have no medical evidence supporting their claims.

“We know they have no medical evidence because (the S.C. Department of Social Services) filed a civil suit against the mother and we requested they produce evidence. That’s been six months. They haven’t produced anything,” Keitt said.

“This investigation consists solely of them saying they did research and they could’ve done things differently,” he added.

“There’s no criminal activity here. These charges are very, very suspicious.”

Tonya James of DSS told the court, “DSS has had incidents with Ms. Green and her mother since 2013 and it started with neglect of this very child who is now deceased. Currently, the remaining children are in care as a result of their arrests yesterday.”

James said that if Dasie Green posts bond, the grandchildren would like to see her and DSS would make arrangements for visitations.

On the day of Smith’s death, EMS workers attempted life-saving measures on her. She continued to be unresponsive, according to a sheriff’s office incident report.

A deputy attempted to speak with Kynika Green, but “due to her state of shock she was unable to fully communicate” with the deputy, the report states.

Dasie Green told deputies that she last saw Smith around 11 p.m. on April 29 but Kynika Green checked on Smith several times throughout the night, the report states.

Dasie Green said at 5:30 a.m., her daughter realized Smith was unresponsive.

Deputies learned then that Smith had several medical concerns.

“This deputy did not observe any medication within the residence nor did the parent advise that the juvenile took anything upon question,” the incident report states.

The report goes on to say, “Due to the nature of the incident, on-call Inv. Andy Hayes was notified. Hayes responded to the scene.”

SLED also arrived on the scene, the report notes.

Smith’s obituary with Glover’s Funeral Home says, “She came into the world as a fighter. She was a 3-pound, 5-ounce baby who decided that she was coming into this world and no one was going to tell her how to live.”

She touched many people with her smile. She loved to sing, eat and laugh, the obituary continues.

She was “full of joy and was a caretaker when it came to her younger siblings,” it says.

The mother and grandmother appeared before Orangeburg County Magistrate Peggy Doremus on Wednesday afternoon.

Doremus set a $25,000 cash or surety bond, with a 10-percent pay option, on Dasie Green.

Kynika Green will remain at the Orangeburg County Detention Center. A circuit judge may consider setting her bond at a later date.

Neither of the women have criminal records.

If convicted, Kynika Green faces up to life in prison. Dasie Green faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine if she’s convicted.

Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD.

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