DSS had been unable to locate the family after a medical official notified DSS that a baby with a heart condition was not receiving proper care.


Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A Richland County woman has been arrested and charged with unlawful neglect of a child in connection with the death of her five-month-old.

Sgt. Curtis Wilson with the Richland County Sheriff's Department says that deputies arrested 29-year-old Jennifer Coles Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday morning, a judge set bond for her at $10,000.

Last week, Richland Sheriff deputies and coroner Gary Watts began looking into the death of the 5-month-old Bryson Webb, who was on a heart monitor.

A medical official in Richland County notified Social Services on March 3 that a baby with a heart issue wasn't receiving proper medical care.

Department of Social Services officials say an investigation was opened March 4, but the family, according to DSS, could not be located despite repeated attempts. Law enforcement and the agency worked together to find the family and located then in another county last Friday, but the Webb had already died three days earlier.

DSS Director Lilian Koller, who is already under fire for other children's deaths while in DSS custody, released a statement Tuesday night saying:

"The thousands of dedicated employees at the Department of Social Services work hard every day to protect children who are in some of the worst imaginable circumstances, and they succeed in serving and protecting thousands of children.

"There are a small number of tragic cases in which their best efforts do not succeed, as in this case where we could not locate Baby Webb and his apparently transient familyā€ˇ after repeated attempts."

"We will always be looking for ways to improve performance in the Department until we reach a day when no children in South Carolina are neglected or abused."

Both the sheriff and the coroner will hold a news conference Wednesday afternoon at 3PM to provide more information in this case.

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