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Details Released About Circumstances Surrounding Child's Death

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A 10-year-old child found dead in her family's apartment in central Kentucky was routinely belittled and lived in fear of upsetting her father, relatives and neighbors said.

McCaylah Watkins' bruised and lifeless body was found in her family's Winchester apartment Sunday. Her father Patrick Watkins, 30, and his wife, Joy Watkins, were charged with first-degree criminal abuse on a child under 12. Police said their investigation lead them to file more charges against the couple.

Police said the child was dead for at least 45 minutes before emergency workers were called to the apartment, The Lexington
Herald-Leader reported Tuesday on its Web site.

Family members and neighbors said the couple often cursed the
girl and called her harsh names in public.

Joy Watkins' grandmother, Betty Stokley, who lives next door to the couple, said Patrick Watkins was cruel to McCaylah, his daughter from a previous marriage. Stokley said she had seen him kick the girl in the back, knocking her down.

Winchester police Capt. Harvey Craycraft said McCaylah had "trauma injuries" on her body. Patrick Watkins told police that the girl had fallen down some stairs, Craycraft said.

Officials with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services declined to comment on past or current investigations involving the Watkinses.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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