CMPD searches for couple accused of abusing 4-month-old son

CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is looking for a couple who is wanted for the alleged abuse of their infant child.

Officers were told on March 20 that a four-month-old boy was treated for injuries after a minor crash, CMPD said in a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

The baby’s injuries were severe and life-altering, police said. The parents left the hospital and their child there.

However, the child’s injuries were not consistent with being in a crash so on the next day, warrants were issued for the parents, Brandon Augustine, 24, and Mildred Chestnut, 23.

‘I was hysterical’

Dianna Augustine got emotional Wednesday night talking about her son, Brandon Augustine.

“He has the biggest heart,” Dianna Augustine said. “He goes out of his way, and family is everything. And I mean, everything to him.”

Dianna Augustine told police she hasn’t heard from him or his girlfriend, Chestnut, since March 18.

The couple brought their four-month-old son to Atrium Main three days prior to treat injuries they said were from a car crash, Dianna Augustine said.

Her son and Chestnut developed flu-like symptoms, so she stayed with the infant at the hospital while they went home, Dianna Augustine said.

“By next morning, my bells, all the bells, and whistles were going off like something’s wrong,” she said. “Like inherently wrong -- not just like they were sick.”

She reported them missing on March 20, which was when hospital staff contacted CMPD.

The couple’s Volvo, which had damage to its back bumper, was found on March 21 abandoned and hidden in the woods at a mobile home park in Austell, Georgia, police said.

“Up until today (Wednesday) with the press release, I was convinced he was dead,” Dianna Augustine said. “Because like no one was telling me anything.”

Dianna Augustine said she learned about the child abuse allegations when the press release was made public.

“When I read that I was just, I was hysterical,” Dianna Augustine said. “I was just, I fell apart. Like, I’ve been trying to be so strong for the family and keep it together.”

Dianna Augustine said she doesn’t know what to believe and wants to know if her son and his girlfriend are OK.

“I still love him,” she said. “I want him to come home. I want him to be safe. And I want him to do it the right way … I want them to talk to the police.”

‘Time to do right by your child’

CMPD’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Team has been searching for the couple since March 21 and detectives are now asking for the public’s help.

“We’re all parents we’re so this is a huge impact for not only the team that’s investigating but the team that’s looking for them to apprehend them,” said Maj. Luke Sell. “So it hits home that this victim can’t speak for himself. And so that’s our role and that’s why we’re here today.”

Brandon Augustine and Chestnut have been getting help from people who have provided them money, shelter, and rides, police said. Police don’t think the duo stayed in North Carolina.

Detectives emphasized Wednesday that anyone who is helping the couple could face criminal charges.

Brandon Augustine and Chestnut are each facing the charge of felony intentional child abuse inflicting serious injury.

“It’s time to do right by your child,” Sell said. “For one -- I think that any parent -- I know that those parents have to be having second thoughts about running about not coming and seeing that child.”

The child is safe and is recovering, police said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

(WATCH BELOW: ‘Jane Doe’ appeals verdict in sex assault lawsuit against CMS)