Detective tearfully describes seeing tortured 4-year-old Teghan Skiba

A crime scene investigator detailing crucial evidence, broke down in tears.
March 4, 2014 9:00:00 PM PST
A crime scene investigator detailing crucial evidence in the murder trial of Jonathan Richardson Wednesday, broke down in tears when he began to describe seeing 4-year-old Teghan Skiba.

The Johnston County girl was allegedly tortured, sexually assaulted, and beaten by her mother's boyfriend over a 10-day period while her mother, Helen Roxanne Reyes, was out-of-state for Army Reserves training in July 2010.

The then-21-year-old Richardson had originally taken Skiba to Johnston Medical Center -- she was later transferred to UNC-- claiming the girl had fallen off the bed. However, doctors found she had cuts, bruises, a head wound, and bite marks on her body. Skiba died days later from her injuries.

On Wednesday, the detective investigating the case at the time was overcome with emotion as he told the jury what happened when he saw the little girl's injuries.

"The doctor then rolled Teghan over to her side so I could see her back, the injuries to her back, ah ... (deep breathe and long pause) ... but due to ... I just couldn't bear to look at it anymore," Det. Matt DeSilva said.

As DeSilva wiped the tears from his eyes, a recess was called over his emotions. When the jury left the courtroom, DeSilva told the judge it was the worst thing he has ever seen in his life.

DeSilva also told the courtroom that Richardson smiled when he asked deputies if they were going to, "tie him down and cut him up," when they questioned him about the girl. DeSilva said he felt mocked by Richardson's comments.

Two other investigators took the stand as well Wednesday.

Last week, the attending physician at UNC's intensive care unit for children testified that he "nearly vomited" when he saw Skiba at the hospital and that he had never seen injuries like that on any child in his 25 years as a doctor.

"We saw this small frail girl who you know from her status she was pale, she was poorly perfused, in shock, those parts ... don't portray how beaten this child was when she ... I had a first look at her," Dr. Keith Kocis said. "These scars, these whip marks, these injuries to her skin that were all over her body, I mean there was essentially no part of her body that was spared."

Authorities have said the 4 year old was tortured inside an air conditioned shed behind Richardson's grandparents' home, where she was living with her mother and Richardson. There was no running water, no bathroom, and just a single air mattress on the floor to sleep on.

On Monday, Richardson's grandmother told the jury she was afraid of her grandson, and that he had a temper. Helen Parish Creech testified that she didn't report what was going on because she didn't want authorities to take the child.

It was revealed in court Wednesday that Skiba's biological father was in jail when the girl was living with Richardson.

Richardson has been charged with first-degree murder, and felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against him.

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