Mother, boyfriend indicted in child’s murder after suffering extensive injuries

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 3:42 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 3, 2023 at 2:05 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A mother and her boyfriend have been indicted for murder after a 21-month-old baby died last summer.

Hydia Hamilton-Smith, 24, is charged with murder, felonious assault, endangering children and involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of her son, Darnell Gamble, according to Hamilton County Prosecutor Melissa Powers.

Rodney Williams, Hamilton-Smith’s boyfriend, was indicted on charges of murder, felonious assault and endangering children, Powers announced Wednesday.

Gamble died at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital after his mother called 911 on July 31, 2022, to report a burn injury to her child, the prosecutor explained.

His cause of death was determined to be head trauma, but as Powers details, Gamble had extensive injuries.

An autopsy revealed the following injuries to the 21-month-old Gamble: cigarette burns, burns to the left side of his body (undetermined cause), bite marks on his shoulder, arm, leg hands and fingers, liver laceration, rib fracture, optic nerve damage and brain trauma, according to Powers.

“I’m just sad,” said Darnell’s grandmother, Charolette Waller. “I’m angry. I’m hurt. I feel like I let him down... This is just such a nightmare.”

Gamble was in the exclusive care of Hamilton-Smith and Williams when the injuries occurred, Powers said.

Hamilton-Smith and Williams face life in prison if convicted on all charges, the Hamilton County prosecutor explained.

“I would ask for the death penalty,” Waller said.

Hamilton-Smith was arraigned on Jan. 31 and her bond was set at $500,000 on the new charges, according to the prosecutor’s office.

She was already in jail for child endangering.

Williams pleaded not guilty on Friday morning and his bond was set at $250,000.

Hydia Hamilton-Smith
Hydia Hamilton-Smith(Hamilton County Justice Center)

Williams was also indicted for a 2018 incident, the prosecutor added.

He is accused of abusing his then-girlfriend’s two-year-old child, Powers said.

The child was taken to Cincinnati Children’s and was found to have suffered abdominal bruising, liver lacerations, lacerations on the adrenal gland, a black eye fluid in his pelvis, bite marks, and swollen and blistered lips, according to Powers.

The child survived his injuries.

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