Third person convicted in severe abuse of 7-year-old in Vernon Parish

Three arrested for Vernon child abuse.
Three arrested for Vernon child abuse.(KPLC)
Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 12:29 PM CDT
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Vernon Parish, LA (KPLC) - A third person has been convicted in a case in which a 7-year-old child was deprived of food and water and severely beaten to the point where she had extensive bruising on her face and her eyes were swollen shut, according to authorities.

Allen Clayton Fulks, 23, of Vernon Parish, was found guilty as charged on three counts of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. The jury deliberated for approximately 40 minutes before returning a unanimous guilty plea.

Stacy Tharpe and Dakota Singletary previously each pleaded guilty to one count each of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile - both also testified at the trial against Fulks.

All three are expected to be sentenced on Dec. 20.

The investigation started when Singletary and Fulks were involved in a vehicle accident in the Rosepine area, the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office reported when announcing the arrests in 2020. Tharpe arrived at the accident with her children, but a Rosepine officer who knew her asked about the whereabouts of the 7-year-old girl.

Tharpe told the officer the girl was with her mother, but a witness told officers that the girl was still in Tharpe’s care. The Rosepine officer and a Louisiana State Police trooper went to Tharpe’s residence where they found the girl with her eyes swollen shut.

A medical examination found more bruising all over the girl’s body. The girl said Singletary and Fulks had repeatedly beaten her, choked her until she lost consciousness, and cut off her hair.

Deputies said she told them that she was tired and couldn’t take the abuse any longer.

Detectives say both Singletary and Fulks admitted that they had abused the girl.

The child’s mother had left the girl in Tharpe’s care in February 2020 but had not returned. Tharpe admitted to witnessing the abuse but Sheriff’s Office officials said she failed to report it and attempted to hide the child’s whereabouts.

“The evidence, in this case, was very disturbing,” Vernon Parish District Attorney Terry Lambright said in a statement. “It was never determined exactly how long the abuse went on, but we did determine through the investigation that the child had been living in the home with the three defendants for approximately five months. I am very pleased with the outcome of this case in that justice for the victim will finally be served. I would also like to commend the Rosepine Police Department, the Louisiana State Police, and the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office for their outstanding work in this case.”