Bail set for Mobile woman charged with child abuse as police investigate boy’s death | Mobile County Alabama News
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – A judge on Friday set bail of $150,000 for a woman charged with the aggravated abuse of a 4-year-old child who died this week.
Police arrested Yolanda Denise Coale, 53, on Thursday night on an aggravated child abuse charge. Mobile County District Judge Spiro Cheriogotis ordered that in addition to having no contact with the children, Coale submit to electronic surveillance if she pays the $150,000 bond.
Mobile County Assistant District Attorney Louis Walker said Coale was the victim’s aunt.
“She was the legal guardian of the child. …During the investigation, mobile police found evidence of abuse of this child and then he was found dead yesterday,” he said after the hearing.
Many key details remain a mystery. Walker could not immediately say how long the child had lived with Coale or how she came to have custody of him. Even the cause of death is uncertain. A police spokeswoman told FOX10 News that investigators are awaiting an autopsy.
Coale has no local criminal history except for a 2005 arrest charging him with supplying alcohol to a minor.
On Friday morning, a mobile police officer inspected the exterior of Coale’s home on Jacob Drive between Dauphin Island Parkway and Dog River.
Investigators say the abuse the boy suffered is all too common, according to Andy Wynne, executive director of the Child Advocacy Center of Mobile.
“It’s incredibly tragic,” he said. “And unfortunately it happens a little more often than I think people want to think about.”
Wynne said his agency handles some 500 cases a year, ranging from sexual abuse to physical abuse. And that’s only a fraction of the overall problem, says Wynne, because not every case of abuse comes to him.
“It is also recognized as the least reported crime in the country. Between 10 and 25% of abused children are probably reported,” he said. “It’s really the media coverage, the real tragedies, like the death of that child you’re talking about, that puts the spotlight on it. But there are many children who suffer and who are silent.
Coale, who does not yet have a lawyer, is scheduled for an arraignment hearing on Tuesday. For now, she only faces the aggravated child abuse charge, but prosecutors say it’s possible the charge could be increased.
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