Man charged with assault after 3-year-old stepson airlifted to hospital

CARROLL COUNTY, Ga. — A man is facing several charges after his stepson was seriously injured.

Joshua Richards, 21, is accused of injuring the 3-year-old so much that the child had to be airlifted to an Atlanta hospital.

Police said the boy's mother called 911 Tuesday morning after he didn't wake up and she discovered he was severely injured.

"This is the most innocent of victims you can have,” said Villa Rica Police Captain Keith Shaddix.

Shaddix told Channel 2's Liz Artz his 40-year career hasn't hardened him to what he saw inside the unit at the Hickory Falls Apartments.

“Thinking about seeing him yesterday it bothers me today, it's heartbreaking,” Shaddix said. “There was severe trauma to the head a severe blow to the head."

Shaddix said the boy’s mother was hysterical on the 911 call.

"She was very upset to the point certain times conversation with her almost being hysterical very upset,” Shaddix said.


Richards was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, first-degree cruelty to children and possession of marijuana, Villa Rica police said.

“I'm just trying to wrap my mind around what triggered this incident,” Shaddix said.

Police said they do not believe they have ever responded to a domestic call to the home in the past in reference to the family, but they said they are carefully going through their records.

“This is the first report we've had of any kind of child abuse,” Shaddix said. “I’m looking to see other type calls to that address.”

Richards is the son of Carrollton police Chief Joel Richards.

Police said Richards’ father is cooperating with their investigation.

“Chief Richards has been totally professional and supportive,” Shaddix said. “He has not interfered in investigation, asked questions, open to any info I've requested for him."