Fayetteville grandmother denies biting grandson

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- A Fayetteville grandmother denies allegations she bit and bruised her one-year-old grandson.

Tara Fudge, 43, faces felony child abuse charges. Cumberland County investigators believe she is responsible for the bite marks that appeared on the toddler's left leg and buttocks, as well has a number of bruises on the boy's face, neck, arms, and legs.

"Absolutely not," Fudge said when asked if she'd ever hurt the child. "That's a child that I've bought clothes for, took him on trips....I mean, we've been taking care of the baby ever since he was born, basically."

The alleged abuse was reported by Fudge's stepdaughter following an overnight visit with the child in Fudge's Fayetteville home last month.

Fudge said her stepdaughter dropped the child off some time after 10:30 p.m. on March 2. The visit, Fudge said, lasted all of 9 hours, and most of the time, she and the child were asleep.

"I rocked the baby to sleep, laid him beside my husband and went to bed," Fudge said. "My husband got up for work, went to work, and she came to pick the baby up a little less than an hour later."

It wasn't until Fudge was called in for a second interview with a Cumberland County detective this week that she realized she was facing serious allegations.

"I just couldn't believe this," she said, describing a private breakdown. "I was like "really? You really tryin' to pin this on me?' It really sunk in 'yes,' that they was pinning this on me."

Fudge said neither she nor her husband ever got a good look at the baby's body during the visit because it was short and spent sleeping. She'd only taken his snow suit off before bed, Fudge said. In the hour between her husband leaving for work and her stepdaughter picking the child up, Fudge maintains the pair were sleeping.

"I wished we could have played with the baby before he came," Fudge said. "We could have noticed if anything was wrong with him."

Fudge, who was charged Tuesday, posted a $10,000 bail. Accompanied by about half a dozen family members, she made her first appearance at the Cumberland County Detention Center on Wednesday.

Fudge was appointed a public defender. Her next court appearance is April 28.

Fudge, who said she'd been on good terms with her stepdaughter, has not spoken with the woman since the incident.

"Once I go to court and I'm found innocent, I just hope they go another route and try to figure out what really did happen," said Fudge.

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