MANNING – A 5-year-old boy from Manning has been killed, and his Richland County father has been arrested in connection to the boy’s death.
Michael Cornelius Gamble, 37, was arrested on Jan. 25 in Manning by the State Law Enforcement Division Fugitive Team and transported to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, according to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. He faces a charge of homicide by child abuse that carries a sentence from 20 years to life. A bond for Gamble has not been set.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts identified the boy as Jaiden Hammond.
“The autopsy revealed the child had significant injuries on his head and body that resulted in his death,” Watts said.
According to investigators with the Richland County Sheriff’s Office, they were contacted at 5 p.m. Jan. 22 by the Richland County Coroner’s Office concerning an unresponsive 5-year-old who had been rushed by ambulance from Overland Drive to Prisma Health Richland. The investigation shows he had been under the care of his biological father at the Overland Drive address.
“This is a heartbreaking case,” Lott said. “We will ensure the father is held responsible. To parents who are overwhelmed with your children, please reach out to us. We have plenty of resources that can help prevent a tragic outcome like this one.”
Hammond’s funeral was held Friday afternoon at Triumph The Church Kingdom of God of Christ in Manning with interment at Carolina Johnson Cemetery in Davis Station.
Hammond, a K-5 student at Manning Early Childhood Center, was described as a “very smart and loving little guy. He loved to be on YouTube, play music and watch cartoons. He was a very bright and intelligent little boy who loved playing with his mother’s and grandmother’s cell phones. He was excited about going to church because he knew that was an opportunity to sing his grandmother’s favorite song, ‘Get Up and Stop Sitting Down.’"
Printed on the program for the child’s funeral service was the following Scripture from Mathew 19:14: “But Jesus said, ‘Suffer the little children and forbid them not to come unto Me; for such is the kingdom of heaven.’”
This story will be updated when the suspect's booking photo becomes available.
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