EDEN — Police began their fifth day in the search for child abuse suspect Terrance Devon Veal, 36, on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the 3-year-old boy he severely injured remains hospitalized and in stable condition, authorities said.
Eden Police found the youngster after responding to a 911 call about a domestic disturbance at the 600 block of Park Avenue. Found in critical condition, the toddler was initially treated at UNC Rockingham Health Care, then swiftly transferred to a trauma unit, according to Lt. David Lamberth, police department spokesman.
Police say Veal fled from the area on foot. “We’re still looking for him … there’s no news about where he is at this time,’’ Lamberth said Monday afternoon.
Working with the Rockingham County District Attorney’s office, the Eden Police have charged Veal with one count each of felony child abuse, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and assault on a female.
Spokesman Lamberth could not detail the child’s injuries or confirm the child’s relationship to Veal, in the interest of protecting the child from the at-large suspect.
Sadly, domestic abuse of women and children is not that uncommon in Rockingham County and across North Carolina, experts say and statistics show.
From June 2017 through June 2018, North Carolina law enforcement agencies investigated reports of 119,339 children being abused or neglected across the state.
And in 2016, 27 North Carolina children died at the hand of a parent or caregiver, according to the office of the North Carolina Medical Examiner.
Help Inc. in Rockingham County serves women and children suffering from domestic abuse by offering them shelter, referrals and legal assistance.
And statistics compiled by researchers for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Jordan Institute for Families and Management Assistance for Child Welfare, Work First, and Food & Nutrition Services in North Carolina, there have been thousands of reports of child abuse and neglect in Rockingham County since 1997.
Over that 12-year span, numbers ranged from 948 cases to 1366 cases, with peak reporting in 2010-2011. In 2016-2017, reports numbered 1313, but tapered dramatically in 2017-2018 to 105, according to the report.
Eden police ask that anyone with knowledge of Veal’s whereabouts call Detective Brandon Buckner at 336-623-9755. Tipsters who wish to remain anonymous may call Rockingham County Crime Stoppers at 336-349-9683.