Murder charges filed in death of 3 year-old Emily Barnard

By: Conroy Delouche Email
By: Conroy Delouche Email
Amber Gibson has been charged with First Degree Murder and Aggravated Child Abuse related to the death of three year-old Emily Barnard, the Hawkins Co. Sheriff

Amber Gibson (Courtesy: Hawkins Co. Sheriff's Office)

ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Amber Gibson has been charged with First Degree Murder and Aggravated Child Abuse related to the death of three year-old Emily Barnard, the Hawkins Co. Sheriff's Office announced on Tuesday.

The toddler died in late July after what the Sheriff's Office described at the time as a devastating case of child abuse. Authorities suspected Gibson committed the abuse while she was watching Emily.

Judge John Duggar issued a gag order so investigators are not releasing the results of the autopsy or what led to the murder charge.

But Sheriff Ronnie Lawson says this is just one step and more charges could be ahead.

The girl's father, Erik Barnard, initially told authorities Emily had fallen and hit her head. Barnard and Gibson were reportedly dating at the time. Meanwhile, other family members told Local 8 News Emily's body was badly bruised and they did not believe her death was an accident.

Barnard had lost custody of Emily previously after drug charges against him, but at the time of her death, the girl was once again living with Barnard and Gibson.

Gibson's next day in court is February 3.


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  • by Lacy Location: Crossville on Dec 13, 2011 at 10:08 PM
    CPS an DCS were involved prior to.... evidentally THROROUGH investigations are not being conducted. Read the Kelsey Smith-Briggs story.
  • by Tami Location: Talbott on Dec 13, 2011 at 03:19 PM
    Have the authorites made the father take a drug test???because,WHO???, in their "Right Mind", would believe that this little angel,Emily,had fallen and gotten so many bruises from it. Did she fall from the ROOF??? And,why did he have her living with them, if he did not have custody due to his drug charges? He should have told the authorities that she was in his custody,so that they could take proper steps to protect this precious, little helpless Angel. It takes a MONSTER beat a child, not to mention, Viciously MURDER the child. I wish people would give up their kids,if they feel that they are close to harming them and also, if they don't love them. Why doesn't our country believe in the Death Penalty??????? If a person MURDERS someone and it is not in Self-Defense, nor is it because of Abuse inflicted on them,nor by accident,I believe that they should be given 30 minutes to repent to God, and then,immediately be put to death. Why do people show more mercy to the Cold Blooded Murderer than they do to the victim?????????????????????If they took someone's life, then, they deserve for theirs to be taken too!!! None of this "spending decades in prison, eating chocolate cake,getting paid for the work they do, and getting time to watch movies everyday. What are our politicians doing to protect the rest of us??? Not much.
  • by becky Location: morristown,tn on Dec 13, 2011 at 12:58 PM
    sense her dad lied and said she fell does he get charged? also ithink they should charge the grandfather also sensethe dad wasn't supposeto have her..but i geuss it will be another casey anthony or christian/newsom case just let her go...i know there is people in this word who would loveto get ahold of her.
  • by Patty Location: Knoxville on Dec 13, 2011 at 12:57 PM
    I will never understand cases such as this where the parents or a parent always get the child back after it is obvious to eveyone on the planet except the officials that horrific abuse is going on. Just another symptom of the demise of our society.
  • by connie on Dec 13, 2011 at 11:25 AM
    great another female who will get away with murder just like Casey Anthony.
  • by Lisa Location: Knoxville on Dec 13, 2011 at 11:25 AM
    Is the father being charged with anything since he lied initially about the child's injuries??
    • reply
      by Angela on Dec 14, 2011 at 07:45 AM in reply to Lisa
      Amber Gibson was involved in the beating of an elderly man a year prior to the little girl incident and involved in setting up a man on a blind date who was held up at gunpoint and the wonderful Hawkins Co justice system wouldnt even charge her for these crimes but was left free to do this to this poor little girl. Miss Gibson was handed to the police on a silver platter from the elderly beating and they wouldnt even investigate her. If they would had done their job and locked her up from the elderly beating, she would not had been free to do this to little "Emily"! Whats wrong with the Hawkins Co Justice System? She has ruined many lives in Hawkins Co.!

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