The Teghan Sikba Case: Brutally Tortured For 10 Days
[Smithfield, North Carolina]
Helen Reyes was the mother of 4 year old Teghan Sikba. The father of Teghan was quite absent in her life seeing as he was very violent and constantly in jail. Therefore, Helen moved in with her parents.
The living situation ultimately fell apart after a large argument between Helen and her mother. Apparently, the disagreement was so intense that Helen cut off all contact with her parents meaning that Teghan no longer saw her loving grandparents. Helen then moved in with her 21 year old boyfriend, Jonathan Richardson. The three of them lived in a shed outside of Jonathan’s parent’s home with no running water and an air mattress.
Jonathan was an extremely questionable father figure. He sent Helen a picture of Teghan with a beer in her hand and cigarette in her mouth. He also punched the young girl in her eye multiple times which Helen took pictures of.
Furthermore, he whipped Teghan with a power cord so hard that it left huge welts all over her body. Despite these incidents, Helen stayed with him. She also assigned him the role as Teghan’s caregiver while she went to New Mexico for military training. She had other babysitter options such as her parents or Jonathan’s grandparents, but she persisted that she wanted him to watch her daughter. The day Helen was dropped off at the airport, Jonathan headed to a local hardware store and picked up a lock for the shed. It was used to prevent his parents from entering the shed during ten tortuous long days.
On July 19th, 2010, he rushed her little unconscious body into the hospital saying that she had fallen off of an air mattress and hit her head. It was determined that Teghan had a large brain injury so she was rushed to the ICU. While doctor’s were analyzing her injury, they realized that there were many more wounds scattered all over her body. Most were in different stages of healing meaning that the Teghan had been suffering for a while.
She had a total of 66 bite marks on her body. Some were so deep that skin was missing. One of Teghan’s nipples were missing, in addition to a few fingernails. Jonathan offered the excuse that a playdate with her cousin is how the bite marks formed. He added that any other infectious injuries were due to her eczema.There were also obvious signs of sexual assault to which Jonathan explained by saying he accidentally hit her with a cord in her private area.
A nurse by the name of Mary Butler *pictured below* was one of the medical officials assigned to take care of Teghan. When she saw the injuries on her body she said out loud, “Oh my god.” As it became clear that the injuries were signs of abuse, Jonathan tried to return to his truck and leave. However, Mary wasn’t going to let him get away so easily. She chased after him and tackled him in the parking lot. Then she grabbed him by the throat, slung him around, and forced him back into the hospital where she put him in a separate room. Police were then called. Once they arrived, Mary was still full of adrenaline and asked one of the officers for their gun so she could “do what needed to be done.”
Three days after being in the hospital, little Teghan was pronounced dead. The autopsy revealed that her cause of death was a traumatic blow to the head. According to Jonathan, his bipolar disorder and abuse from childhood caused him to snap after Teghan peed and pooped in the bed. He claimed his young age interfered with knowing how to be a proper father.
Investigators noticed blood splatter all over the shed, in addition to an extension cord and graphic footage on a camera of Teghan being punished. Her body was facing a wall and her arms were stretched out while Jonathan screamed at her. She was forced to repeat “When I have to pee, I promise I will tell someone.”
Jonathan Richardson was found guilty of first-degree murder, felony child abuse, kidnapping, and sexual offense with a child in the death of the 4-year-old. He was ultimately sentenced to death. As for Helen, she was charged with felony negligent child abuse resulting in serious harm. She was allowed to roam free on bail until her trial nine year later in 2019. During that time, she had another baby girl. Her sentence ended up being 18 to 31 months in prison.