A Wednesday court filing has made public additional details in a child abuse case against two Knoxville residents.
Rocky Lee Wooldridge, 49, of Knoxville, and Jennifer Lee Wooldridge, 43, of Knoxville, were charged earlier this year for neglect or abandonment of a dependent person and first-degree kidnapping charges.
The charges stemmed from a March report from the Department of Human Services for a child that law enforcement said was found in a Knoxville home that had suffered multiple injuries. Police said the child’s room was covered in plastic sheeting and the child was often confined to the room for long periods of time.
This week, a lawyer for Rocky Wooldridge was heard on a motion to dismiss the kidnapping charges against him. A judge denied that motion after a hearing on Wednesday, and in his order detailed previously unreported information that the state plans to present at trial to support their charges.
In ruling on the motion, evidence is viewed most favorably to the state. Rocky Wooldridge’s attorney argued evidence did not indicate that it was Rocky Wooldridge that confined or removed the minor child in question in the case. The state, however, said its evidence will prove just that.
“This disputed issue is not capable of determination without trial,” Judge Patrick Greenwood wrote in his decision.
According to the newly filed court documents, a social worker visited Rocky Wooldridge and the minor child at their home in Knoxville. Then, according to the evidence outlined in court documents, the social worker learned the child had not been outside the house for two weeks.
The worker observed the child “did not appear to be free to move about the home,” according to the evidence listed in the judge’s order.
Court filings continue to say Rocky Wooldridge showed the social worker a motion detector system that sounded an alarm and flashed lights to notify him if the child had gotten out of bed and stepped onto the floor.
Additional evidence outlines a nurse finding the child to be malnourished, failing to thrive and injured during an exam on March 8.
Meanwhile, court filings indicate the social worker noted a plastic bag of soaked Pull-up diapers was in the room of the child. Court filings say the child told the nurse he had last been outside the prior summer, and that he was not allowed to leave his room to go to the bathroom.
“One or more medical professionals will opine that [the child’s] injuries were consistent with inflicted trauma and not accidental falls,” the filing said.
Testimony from the child’s older sibling was also outlined in the court documents. The state said it will include information that the older sibling witnessed Rocky Wooldridge striking the minor child and denied the minor child water to drink.
Another brother of the child “is expected to testify that [Rocky Wooldridge] and his wife (Jennifer Wooldridge) installed a ‘baby gate’” on the child’s door so it would not open, according to court filings.
In the fall of 2017, the filing continues, a classroom aid reported the minor child had a broken collarbone and burns, which the aid reported to the Department of Human Services. After that report, the child was removed from the school district and homeschooled.
Both Rocky Wooldridge and Jennifer Wooldridge have entered not guilty pleas to their charges and they are being tried separately.
Rocky Wooldridge’s next hearing is set for Aug. 22. Jennifer Wooldridge is due in court next on Nov. 18.