CUMMING — A 39-year-old convicted sex offender was charged in the death of a toddler after preliminary autopsy results showed the child had been beaten to death, Forsyth County authorities said Monday.
"It was much worse than what we had anticipated at the scene on Friday," said Forsyth County Sheriff’s Lt. Col. Gene Moss.
The findings, which came back Saturday from the GBI Crime Lab, indicated that 2-year-old Joshua Pinckney suffered multiple blows to the head, Moss said.
Christopher Brian Gilreath, who authorities identified as the boyfriend of Pinckney’s mother, is being held without bond at the Forsyth County Detention Center. He has been charged with aggravated battery, cruelty to children and felony murder.
Pinckney was found dead Friday morning at the 3525 Catalina Drive home authorities say his mother, Miriam Pinckney, shared with Gilreath and her other child.
Sheriff’s Capt. Paul Taylor declined to comment on whether the woman is a suspect, saying only that the case remains under investigation.
"This is one of the most difficult things law enforcement has to be involved in because it’s a child death," he said. "Experience with it doesn’t make it any easier."
Authorities were called about 7 a.m. Friday to the home northeast of Cumming, where they found the child in his bed. He was not breathing.
Gilreath and Miriam Pinckney were home at the time, authorities said. The couple had lived there since December, when they moved from South Carolina.
Gilreath was subsequently arrested on charges unrelated to the child’s death. He was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and failure to register as a sex offender in Georgia. He was last registered in Pennsylvania.
Moss said Gilreath was taken off the registry when he moved from Pennsylvania. He was required to register in Georgia within 72 hours of taking up residence.
Moss declined to comment on the specifics of Gilreath’s conviction.
"We do not give out the criminal history (of suspects)," he said.
A second child, Pinckney’s 2-year-old daughter, was taken into protective custody Friday and placed with county authorities.
The children, both of whom were adopted from Guatemala, are not blood relatives, Taylor said.
He said Pinckney’s estranged husband, the adoptive father of the children, still lives in South Carolina.
Moss said it has not been determined if the girl will be returned to Miriam Pinckney.
Authorities had not been called out to the house before Friday’s incident. Taylor said investigators have spoken with other residents in the neighborhood, which is not far from Lake Lanier.
"I don’t think the neighbors know much about them," he said. "They didn’t live there long."
Moss did not know Pinckney’s occupation, but said Gilreath was unemployed.