MIDDLETOWN, OH (FOX19) - A Middletown family is on a mission to convince legislators to change the laws after a woman was injured and her unborn baby died in what police are calling an act of domestic violence.
The family of Madison Anthony believes Joseph Garrett Smith of Dayton, OH, is a monster. Smith is currently in the Butler County Jail, accused of domestic violence.
Anthony said that Smith was her boyfriend back in November when a fight they had in her Middletown home turned physical.
“He pushed me down on my roommate’s bed and punched me in the stomach," said Anthony.
Anthony said she was pregnant with the couple’s second child at the time of the incident. She and Smith already have a toddler together.
She said a week later, when she went to the hospital for stomach pain, she found out that their unborn baby, Ryland, had died.
“They couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat, and they told me the baby had passed away at 13-weeks gestation," said Anthony. "I was 14 weeks when I went to the hospital, which means it happened the day he hit me.”
Anthony and Ryland’s grandparents said they are utterly devastated. They carry a part of the little one with them everywhere they go by wearing a necklace that holds his ashes.
“Ryland deserves justice, and I intend to fight until there’s no more breath in me,” said Megan Anthony, Madison’s mother and Ryland’s grandmother.
The Anthonys said they knew from the start that they wanted to see Smith face criminal charges. However, Megan Anthony said that detectives and prosecutors warned them that there are limitations with the law when it comes to cases involving an unborn child, which is why a grand jury indicted Smith solely for domestic violence.
“That only carries up to one year maximum," said Megan Anthony.
Smith will make a court appearance Tuesday. The Anthonys are asking the community to help them pressure lawmakers to make a change.
Through a “Justice for Ryland” Facebook page, they are asking supporters to show up at court hearings and to write letters to legislators demanding that something be done.
“We’re trying to change that law so in the future, these monsters have to be prosecuted and will serve more than a slap on the wrist for murder," said Megan Anthony.
The family is not stopping there. They said they are also on a mission to help victims of abuse find a way to get out and stay out.
“That’s our goal is to get other women out of this, so no other baby loses their life, so that Ryland didn’t die in vain," said Megan Anthony.
Smith will appear in a Butler County courtroom at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.
To follow the family’s journey, visit the “Justice for Ryland” Facebook page.