LANCASTER — A 5-year-old Lancaster girl was beaten to death early Tuesday morning by her mothers boyfriend, who was supposed to be taking care of her while her mother was at work, police said.
Soren Victoria Chilson was found unresponsive in the bathroom of her mothers home early Tuesday morning. Paramedics took her to Springs Memorial Hospital, where she died.
According to an arrest warrant, Phillip Bryan Gleason, 27, struck Soren in the head, and she died from the trauma of the blow. He is charged with homicide by child abuse, which carries a penalty of up to life in prison upon conviction.
Gleason is being held at the Lancaster County Detention Center. Bond was denied Wednesday morning.
Gleason is a Winthrop University student in his second semester studying political science, university officials confirmed.
Its an awful thing, any time you have something like this involving a child, Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile said.
Deputies went to the home at 1791 Craig Farm Road in Lancaster after Gleason called 911 at about 12:40 a.m. Tuesday to report a medical problem with a child.
The only other person in the home with Soren was Gleason, who lives at the home with the girls mother, officials said.
He does not have a criminal history in South Carolina, according to the State Law Enforcement Division. Deputies said the couple had no history of domestic violence or child abuse.
An autopsy showed Soren died from blunt force trauma to the head, Lancaster County Coroner Mike Morris said.
I dont have words, neighbor Paris Caskey said. I dont know. It just makes me sick. He said he doesnt remember seeing the child outside.
Its tragic; for it to be a little girl like that, its just sad, said Barbara Black, who lives across the street from the family. I thought they were a nice, happy family.
Sorens funeral will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Antioch Baptist Church in Lancaster, with burial to follow in the church cemetery.