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Two accused in child abuse case

JACKSON COUNTY - Sheriff's investigators have arrested a Gautier couple following a report of a 2-year-old suffering from "substantial injuries," Sheriff Mike Byrd said this morning.

Jonathan Blake Smith, 20, and Laci Elizabeth Welford, 19, were taken into custody Wednesday. Smith was arrested on a felony charge of child abuse, and Smith was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of child neglect.

Investigators believe Welford's child suffered the injuries as a result of a "severe beating."

The Sun Herald updates this story in Friday's print and online editions.