WINNSBORO – A father and grandmother were arrested last week on charges of unlawful neglect of a child after a toddler was shot in the leg while at the father’s house, the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office said.
According to Fairfield County Sheriff Will Montgomery, the investigation began after Wendy D. Payne, 51, brought her 3-year-old grandson to the Fairfield Memorial Hospital Emergency Room around 2 p.m. Nov. 19 with a gunshot wound to his leg.
Based on the investigation, the child was accidentally shot by the father, Michael G. Tart, at the father’s residence around midnight Nov. 18. After the child was shot, he was taken to Payne’s residence where he remained overnight.
An anonymous tip Nov. 19 alerted authorities about the incident, which Montgomery said prompted Payne to take the child to the ER, approximately 14 hours after the injury occurred.
Tart, 35, was arrested on Nov. 23 and Payne was arrested Nov. 24. The charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, if convicted.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to this child,” Montgomery said. “Children are our most valuable resource and they are also our most defenseless victims. We, as a community, must do everything in our power to protect them. This is still an active investigation and we will have more details as it progresses.”