Case will not be retried

Published 12:19 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Commonwealth’s Attorney for Nottoway County ruled on May 7 that the felony child abuse for Cynthia Dunnavant, also known as Cynthia Gaulding, would not receive a retrial.

In a statement from Commonwealth’s Attorney Theresa J. “Terry” Royall, she said the decision was difficult and said the case has been a painful one for the community.

“After careful consideration, I have decided not to re-try the felony child abuse charge,” Royall said. “I trust that the jurors fully and seriously listened to and weighed the evidence they heard. They were unable to reach a verdict. While I do not agree with the result, I respect and accept it. This entire community has been traumatized by the horrific death of Tyson Tharpe. I believe it is time for us all to do our best to move forward and try to heal.”

Royall said the felony homicide charge was dismissed in March, and that the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the felony child abuse charge and the charge was considered a mistrial.

Tyson James Tharpe, 5, was found unresponsive by Dunnavant, his mother, on March 20, 2017. According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on Tuesday, the cause of death was determined to be blunt-force trauma and the manner of death was homicide.

On March 6, 2018, Dunnavant was indicted for three counts of child abuse and one count of homicide. Tyson and his mother were from Victoria but lived in Blackstone at the time of Tysons death.

A trial was scheduled for October 2018, but it was postponed.

“I appreciate the many citizens who expressed to me their support of my office’s handling of this case,” Royall said.