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Cruelty to Children: Parents Accused Of Beating Their Kids

Marietta mother Shannon Nicole McDowell was arrested and charged with 1st- and 2nd-degree cruelty to children, contributing to the deprivation of a minor and making false statements, WSBTV Atlanta reported. Cobb County police are looking for the father, Damon Earl Jennings.

Investigators said the couple's 2-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter both were taken to hospitals (the boy was flown to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta) for their injuries.

While the boy was still being treated as of May 25, the girl was released to the custody of the Georgia Dept. of Family and Children Services (DFCS). That means the parents likely will need to contact a Georgia family law attorney in addition to a criminal lawyer if they hope to regain custody of their children.

It's important to point out that all those accused of crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Shannon McDowell is being held without bond at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center, while detectives were able to secure warrants for the arrest of Damon Jennings. His warrants are for suspected 1st- and 2nd-degree cruelty to children. 

The specific nature of the children's injuries was not explained in the article, but police say the boy suffered from "substantial external and internal injuries" and the girl was suffering from injuries sustained recently and in the past.

The case still is under investigation. Anyone with knowledge about the case or the whereabouts of Damon Jennings should contact the police at (770) 801-3470.

DFCS has a procedure in place for the children of abusive households. If the agency determines that the children's current home is abusive, they may petition the court to have them removed and placed for adoption or foster care (PDF). 

If you have questions about child custody, contact an Atlanta family law attorney for advice and counsel.

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