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Woman accused of beating her 8-year-old granddaughter to death

A 72-year-old woman was arrested in North Carolina this week for allegedly beating her 8-year-old granddaughter to death, authorities said.

The woman, identified as Patricia Ann Ricks, was the child's legal guardian, according to the Nash County Sheriff's Office, which said in a news release that the girl and "several other siblings" lived at Ricks' home in the town of Nashville. The name of Ricks' granddaughter has not been released, but she was 8 years old, according to the sheriff's office.

Patricia Ann Ricks, 72, is being held without bond in Nash County, North Carolina, following her arrest this week on multiple charges including first-degree murder. Nash County Sheriff's Office

Authorities took Ricks into custody on Tuesday, and the woman now faces charges for first-degree murder and felony child abuse resulting in serious injury. She is currently being held without bail at the Nash County Detention Center and is due to appear in the county's district court for the first time on Thursday, the sheriff's office said.

Deputies and detectives with the county sheriff's office launched an investigation on Tuesday into the circumstances surrounding Ricks' granddaughter's death. 

The sheriff's office received a call just after 4 p.m. that afternoon reporting a deceased child at one of the area's local emergency rooms. The child had arrived at Nash UNC Healthcare's ER "with severe injuries" to her head and throughout her body, and had already died by the time she got there, the office said.

Because the young girl was living with Ricks, the investigation quickly led deputies and detectives to her Nashville residence, where "it was determined that the 8-year old juvenile was beaten so severe by the Grandmother that she died from the injuries," according to the sheriff's office.

Ricks did not share a statement with the sheriff's office when she was arrested, and authorities say that any potential motive for the alleged crime is still unknown. The siblings of Ricks' granddaughter, who also lived at their grandmother's home, have been placed in the custody of Nash County social services.

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