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FIRST ON 3: Mother of baby mauled to death by dogs charged with involuntary manslaughter; UPDATED with news release from DA


Addyson Camerino, was mauled to death by dogs in Clarkton, North Carolina on August 30, 2011. Addyson was nine days old. The dogs lived in the same home as Addyson, together with her mother, grandparents, uncles, and an upstairs tenant. At an early stage of the investigation, Sheriff Prentis Benston contacted the District Attorney’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation. Our three agencies worked closely together
to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic incident.

As a team, we committed ourselves to following a tightly structured process. The first step in this process was to scrupulously investigate the facts. The crime scene was processed, photographs were taken, and numerous interviews were conducted. Next, we researched the controlling law. Our purpose was to determine whether anyone should be held criminally responsible for the death of Addyson. In making this determination we
elected to involve the community in the form of a grand jury.

On September 16, 2011, a special session of the Bladen County Grand Jury was convened to consider this case. Members of the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation testified before the Grand Jury. The District Attorney’s Office elected to employ a seldom used legal device known as a Presentment. A Grand Jury Presentment allows the State to present a detailed rendition of the facts. Following
this presentation, the Grand Jurors are asked whether or not anyone should be charged.

An Indictment is a charging instrument that accuses an individual with a crime. In this case, after hearing all of the evidence, the Grand Jurors requested that charges be brought forth. Superior Court Judge Jack Hooks gave the Grand Jurors detailed charging instructions regarding their role, and the law of Involuntary Manslaughter. Subsequently, the Grand Jury acted and Judge Hooks ordered the matter sealed until service of process. Everyone who worked on the investigation was impacted by the gruesome nature of the death. The death of such a young child, by a group of dogs, is an emotionally charged event. It is for this reason that we decided to embark on a slow and deliberate process. As a team, we were determined that there would be no rush to judgment, and that our decision to charge would be based on the facts and the law. Nobody who worked
on the case had a predetermined view about the need to charge anyone in the name of holding someone responsible for this tragic loss. Moreover, we determined that it was important to involve the community in the charging process. The Grand Jury has made their determination, and we respect their decision.

Prosecutors and law enforcement officers are bound by a code of ethics regarding what information they can share about a pending case. As a team, we are obligated to give those charged with a crime a fair process. Accordingly, in the future we are limited about what we can say about this matter.


BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The mother of the nine-day-old baby who was mauled to death by dogs in Bladen County last month was arrested on Friday after being indicted on one count of involuntary manslaughter.

According to Bladen County Sheriff’s deputies, Chelsea Lynn Brigman was arrested around 5 p.m. on Friday and was released from Bladen County Jail a few hours later under a $50,000 bond.

The Sheriff’s Office confirms the 18-year-old Brigman, identified on the initial incident report as Chelsea Camerino, is the mother of nine-day-old Addyson Camerino, who died after at least one dog attacked her at a home in Clarkton August 30.

Animal Control seized five dogs from the home.

“Everyone there that was there and had the dogs around in the house, to me they’re all responsible,” said Sandra Guyton, a Clarkton resident. “Something should have been done before now, I mean how long has it been since the child was attacked? I don’t know it just seems something should have been done.”

Susan Butler, who also lives in Clarkton says the death of baby Addyson is not only a tragedy, the situation, she says could have been easily avoided.

“We don’t think about our animals because we love them so much and they’re a part of our family as being still animals,” said Butler. “We don’t think about electrical cords or about little things that could hurt children. We have a lot of preventable deaths and unfortunately this is one of those cases.”

Both district attorney Jon David and the Bladen County Sheriff say a more detailed statement about Addyson’s death will be released some time tomorrow. According to a deputy at the Bladen County Jail, Brigman is scheduled to be in court on October 4.

More: continued here

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