Coulter v. DunnAnnotate this Case
D.G.E.C. was born on June 1, 2016. Her biological parents were Rachel Coulter and Cody Jones. Coulter and Jones never married. On the evening of August 6, 2016, Jones took the nine-week-old baby to a room in their two-bedroom trailer to change her diaper. He noticed that her leg appeared limp. He told Coulter “her leg flopped over like it had no life in it” and expressed concern that it was broken. Eventually, Coulter and Jones took the baby to an emergency room. Coulter suggested that the baby might be suffering due to a reaction to her first round of vaccinations received three days earlier. X-rays of the leg revealed that it was fractured. The baby was transferred to University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) for further evaluation and treatment. Upon admission to UMMC, medical professionals identified bruising to the baby’s forehead and cheek, acute posterior rib fractures on both sides of her chest, lateral rib fractures, an intertrochanteric femur fracture or hip fracture, corner fractures above and below both knees, and left ankle fractures. Given the baby’s medical condition upon admission, a UMMC social worker contacted the Jefferson Davis County Department of Human Services (DHS) to report the injuries. Coulter appealed a chancery court judgment terminating her parental rights. She challenged the chancellor’s finding of fact that she was the custodial parent of her daughter when her daughter was abused, and its conclusion of law that responsibility for abuse can be imputed to custodial parents. After review, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the chancellor’s findings of fact, finding the judgment was supported by "ample evidence as is legally sound."