Augusta Mayor’s assistant accused of strangling child, suspended pending investigation


UPDATE (12:00 p.m. 6/30/2020) – Maria Cook has been suspended from her position, pending an investigation.

Mayor Hardie Davis has released the following statement:

“I am aware of the domestic incident involving Ms. Cook, it is unfortunate. My thoughts, prayers, and support are with her and her entire family as they work through this situation privately. Ms. Cook has been suspended pending case disposition and investigation. There will be no further comments from me on this private family matter.”

UPDATE (1:08 p.m., 6/29/2020) – According to Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Maria H. Cook, program director for the Augusta Mayor’s Office, was released from Charles B. Webster Detention Center Sunday, the same day she was arrested after her child was admitted to Augusta University Medical Center.

While Cook was charged and booked into the detention center on simple battery, arrest warrants were written up Monday morning just before 2 a.m. charging her with felony charges of first-degree cruelty to children and aggravated assaulted.

In the felony child cruelty warrant, the affidavit states that the victim “sustained strangulation marks around her neck and a bruise on her forehead.” Additionally, Cook is accused of pushing the victim to the ground and pressing her head into the ground multiple times.

In regard to the discrepancy between what appear to be outstanding warrants and Cook’s release within hours of her arrest, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office was only able to reiterate that her booking charges yesterday were for simple battery and that Cook was no longer in custody.

WJBF was referred to the Clerk of the Superior Court to ask about the conditions of Cook’s release; the Clerk of Court replied that no information about Cook’s case have been uploaded, as of yet.

NewsChannel 6 has reached out to Mayor Hardie Davis’ office, but he has not responded to our request for comment.

As of 9 a.m., Cook is currently responding to emails on behalf of the Mayor’s office.

AUGUSTA (WJBF) – The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office arrested Augusta Mayor’s, Hardie Davis’, assistant Maria Cook.

The 38-year-old allegedly strangled her 17-year old daughter.

The incident happened on the 3900 block of Scott Street Sunday evening.

According to arrest warrants, the teenager was hospitalized after Cook pushed her down, pressed her head into the ground multiple times, and then strangled her.

Cook’s charges include Felony Aggravated Assault and Cruelty to Children in the 1st Degree, also a Felony.

Maria Cook did report to work Monday morning.

This is a developing story.

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