Unicoi County, TN— On Saturday evening, Officer Heather Reams went to Howard Edward Hoke’s home shortly after a 911 phone call was made from the house and was disconnected. Hoke, 45, answered the door and tried to assure the officer that all was well, but the officer spotted blood on Hoke’s pants. The officer also spotted blood on the floor inside the location. Officer Reams requested to enter the home and Hoke denied entry, at least at first. Reams entered the home to discover that Hoke’s wife was washing blood from a five year old boy’s face; the child had a fat lip and his nose was bleeding.
Reams asked the boy how he got injured and initially the child refused to speak. With some persistence, Reams got the boy to talk and the child explained that his grandfather struck him as well as bent his thumb back. The child was brought to a local hospital for an evaluation which revealed a number of injuries; the five-year-old had bruised legs, back, and ribs as well as injuries to both thumbs. The evaluation also indicated sexual battery. The child was questioned and he revealed that Howard Hoke, his grandfather, was responsible for the injuries inflicted.
Hoke was charged with aggravated sexual battery and aggravated child abuse after his arrest; he was arraigned in Unicoi County Sessions Court on Monday and stayed in jail until Monday afternoon with a $300,000 bond set. This is not Hoke’s first run in with the law; he has been convicted on abuse charges in Colorado, child cruelty in 1987, and abuse of a child in 1991.
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