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Augusta Couple’s Daughter, 3, Nearly Dies From Fentanyl; Second Child has Bottle With Maggots

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An Augusta couple were locked up Friday after their 3-year-old daughter nearly died from fentanyl exposure and their 1-year-old son was found with burns and a drinking bottle filled with live maggots.

A third woman was also charged in the case.

Matthew Moss, 41, and Talethea Browman, 34, were both charged with two counts of cruelty to children and deprivation of a minor. Moss was also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of drug-related objects.

In addition, Aisha Bartley, 31, was charged with child cruelty and four charges for possession of heroin, cocaine, Oxycodone and synthetic narcotics (fentanyl).

The emergency began Thursday night when first responders were called 2114 Howard Drive in Augusta for an unresponsive 3-year-old girl. The girl was in a semi-conscious state and was given Narcan at the house and again later at the hospital, saving her life, authorities said. The girl later tested positive for fentanyl and went from critical condition to stable with the treatment.

Authorities also found their 1-year-old son with serious burns to his hands, arms and back, and he was drinking from a bottle that contained live maggots inside. That child was taken to the hospital for his injuries.

An investigation into a separate home where the family resided on Wheeler Road showed horrible conditions. The home was found in horrible condition with holes in the floor, no usable toilets, a running metal fan with no safety guard, food infested with insects, exposed energized wires, and buckets of human excrement. There was drug paraphernalia throughout the residence. Two meth pipes were found in Moss’ vehicle, authorities said.

In addition, there were a large quantity of hazardous chemicals next to the open baby formula, stained mattresses and no suitable area for the children to sleep. The kitchen was covered in roaches. Dirty diapers and human fecal matter were found throughout both buildings.

Both parents remained in jail on Sunday under no bond. Bartley was also in jail without bond.

Moss’ uncle said Monday that his nephew was staying with the children at the Howard Drive home that he had been working on for a few days. Bartley was also at the home, and she is accused of giving the child the bottle with as many as 15 live maggots inside, according to the uncle, Thomas Williams.

Moss is a felon who was first convicted of theft by receiving stolen property as a 17 year old. He twice went to prison for a series of 2004 armed robberies and a cocaine conviction from 2011. He was released from prison in 2013, and his uncle and family have been working with him to help him stay out of trouble.

Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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