Child Abuse Charge Dismissed Against Mother Of Runaway Teen

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Child Abuse Charge Dismissed Against Mother Of Runaway Teen

CREATED May 29, 2014
WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. – The child abuse charge against a Williamson County mother has been dismissed after her attorney revealed her son was actually 18 years old, not 16 as previously thought.

Susan Smithburg was in Williamson County court Wednesday morning for a hearing. Her lawyer, David Raybin, was able to present evidence that her adopted son is 18 years old and a legal adult. Smithburg admitted to having her son "re-aged" because he was so far behind when arriving in the United States.

“We thought based on his academic, social and emotional place where he was three or four years behind other children his age in the United States that if we re-aged him he would be able then to be with other social, emotional and academic peers," she said.

The judge said he was forced to dismiss the charge against Smithburg because the case was no longer a juvenile case.

“I appreciate the court ruling the way the court ruled and that’s all I can say," said Smithburg's defense attorney David Raybin.

If the state decides to pursue the case it will be sent over the Williamson County Grand Jury.

A detective from the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office along with Smithburg and the teen testified at Wednesday’s hearing.

Susan Smithburg was arrested on an aggravated child abuse and neglect charge in April after her adopted son sparked a six-day search when he ran away. He was eventually found camping out about two miles from his home.

The night before he went missing, officials said the teen had made a piece of toast at his parents' home in Nolensville. Authorities said Susan Smithburg became enraged and demanded the teen do 1,500 push-ups.

The punishment reportedly went on for about four hours and the teen was unable to complete all 1,500 push-ups. Susan Smithburg was also accused of hitting the teen on the head.

The next day, authorities said Susan Smithburg demanded the teen finish the rest of his punishment, and withheld food from him. That was apparently when he decided to leave home.

The teen was also issued a runaway citation following his disappearance.

The teen and two other children were removed from the home following Smithburg's arrest.

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