LANCASTER, SC (WBTV) - A Purple Heart veteran and his then-girlfriend are facing charges in the 2013 beating death of a 5-year-old girl.
Soren Victoria Chilson, 5, was found unresponsive in the bathroom of a home along Craig Farm Road in March 2013. Phillip Bryan Gleason was initially charged with beating and killing the little girl.
The girl's mother, 30-year-old April Gleason, is charged with aiding and abetting. Lancaster County deputies say April Gleason knew about the abuse and attempted to cover it up.
Sheriff Barry Faile said Phillip Gleason was babysitting the girl while her mother was at work. Faile said Gleason and the girl's mother had been in a relationship for at least 6 months at the time of her death. After officials found what they called "suspicious injuries" on Chilson's body, an autopsy was performed, revealing the girl died of blunt force trauma to the head.
Tuesday, investigators say Phillip Gleason, now 30, was hit with additional charges in Soren's death.
According to the Sheriff's Office, investigators learned that Soren had received injuries on occasions prior to her death. Phillip Gleason and April Gleason were each charged Tuesday with two counts of unlawful conduct toward a child. They say the previous injuries happened between February 5, 2013, and March 3, 2013.
April Gleason is charged with aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse for her role in the events that led to Soren's death.
An arrest warrant states April Gleason "did commit the crime of Homicide by Child Abuse by knowingly aiding and abetting Phillip Bryan Gleason to commit child abuse and/or neglect, and the child abuse and/or neglect did result in the death of Soren Victoria Chilson."
The Gleasons were arrested Tuesday at their home in Rock Hill.
The warrant says April Gleason allowed Phillip Gleason to be alone with Soren on multiple occasions when he abused her. The documents also state April Gleason assisted Phillip Gleason in hiding the child's injuries and tampering with evidence after Soren's death.
WBTV confirmed Gleason served in the Army and received the Purple Heart after he was wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq. WBTV received a picture from the Killeen Daily Herald of Gleason receiving his Purple Heart.
Anyone with information about this or any other case should call the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office at 803-283-3388 or Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or www.sccrimestoppers.com.