Warrants reveal children witnessed autistic teen's abuse

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Shatauna Nicole McGee and Verrone Nicosia O'Neal (WTVD)

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says a Raleigh couple charged with child abuse was not licensed to provide respite care in their home. A DHHS spokesperson says the agency is also aware of the criminal charges against that couple.

That couple is now behind bars for allegedly abusing a 15-year old girl with autism while she was in the couple's care.

Search warrants revealed Friday that the couple's children witnessed the girl being abused.

Verrone Nicosia O'Neal, 36, and Shatauna Nicole McGee, 42, were charged earlier this month with intentional child abuse and attempted murder for a crime that happened in April.

Court documents show the couple was providing respite care for the girl, who is autistic and mute, from April 13th to June 10th of this year, at their home in southeast Raleigh.

The warrants revealed that on June 10th, police officers were called to Wake Medical Center after the girl suffered several injuries and internal bleeding that caused her stomach to swell.

According to officials, O'Neal and McGee were unable to explain how the victim sustained her injuries, despite multiple doctors confirming the injuries were not self-inflicted.

On July 19th, the couple's two biological children told authorities they "witnessed O'Neal and McGee physically punch and kick the victim on multiple occasions throughout the time the victim was in their care," the warrants stated.

One of the children also said they witnessed "the victim being assaulted and bleed on the carpet of her room as a result of the injury." The child went to say the couple then rented a carpet cleaner to clean up the blood from the carpet.

A neighbor who has known the couple for several years couldn't believe the allegations.

"They are wonderful people. I'm really shocked to hear this news. They, they're really good people," Gwen Burt told ABC11.

The warrants also said McGee's mother told investigators there were cameras inside the home and that she heard O'Neal say he needed to delete some video footage from the computer. Authorities later seized a camera system from the home, but it was unclear what was on the device.

Meanwhile, O'Neal and McGee are both being held on a $1.5 million bond.

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