Paratrooper charged with child abuse after son's death - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Paratrooper charged with child abuse after son's death

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J. Gierke J. Gierke

After the death of his infant son, a 24 year old father in Fayetteville is facing child abuse charges.

Spc. Jonathan D. Gierke, an 82nd Airborne Division Paratrooper, was arrested by the Fayetteville Police Department Tuesday.

Lt. Todd Joyce, the department's spokesman said Gierke was not charged in his son's death. Joyce said investigators are waiting for the medical examiner to determine if the child's death was a homicide.

82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs Officer Lt. Col. Virginia McCabe confirmed Gierke's arrest and his status as a paratrooper.

Cumberland County detention records show Gierke is married and that he was not in jail on Friday. He was held on a detainer, so no bail was posted.

"I don't believe it. I don't think that's something he would do," said Gierke's neighbor Garet Reed. "I've been neighbors with him for about a year now, and neither one of them would do anything to hurt those kids.

"They were always with their kids, always showed them love and affection, always outside playing with them. I never saw them snap at the kids or anything like that."

Reed also said he is more likely to believe the baby boy's death was an accident.

"I just think shaken baby syndrome is a loosely used term for unexplained deaths in children," Reed commented. "They don't really have an answer for it, so [they call it] shaken baby syndrome. "


Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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