Republic couple files a civil suit against the woman accused of abusing their baby

GREENE COUNTY, Mo. A Republic day care owner already charged with felony child abuse is facing more legal trouble.

Last March, Samantha Dillbeck was accused of causing abusive head trauma to then 8-month old Grayson Barnhart. He spent days in intensive care.
Nearly a year later, Grayson is almost fully recovered.

Through their attorney, the Barnharts say they are ready to take their fight against Dillbeck to civil court.

"In the beginning nobody really knew what kind of recovery to expect," said Joshua Roberts, attorney for the Barnhart family.

Sara Barnhart lived every mother's worst nightmare.

"She got the call and walked in and saw her lifeless baby on the floor. Her telling that story, I'll never forget," said Roberts.

Investigators say her 8 month old son Grayson Barnhart suffered abuse at the hands of his babysitter.

Doctors found that Grayson had bleeding on his brain and retinal hemorrhages in both eyes. They were injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

Roberts said, "This wasn't a stranger to the Barnharts. They knew the lady that was taking care of their child. To trust somebody and have that trust betrayed that is very difficult. That is something they are still struggling with."

He said the Barnharts never imagined their son would be fighting for his life at the hands of their friend.

"I think that everyone agrees that whatever happened should not have happened. The supervision wasn't there," said Roberts.

Negligence is the basis of the civil lawsuit filed by the Barnharts. A second person, Sara Young, is also named in the lawsuit.
Roberts said she owns the home that Dillbeck rented, where she ran her unlicensed day care.

"What we know so far is that she knew about it. Did she participate in it? Well, that's something we'll need to find out because the liability could extend to anybody that was involved in the business yes," said Roberts.

Grayson Barnhart's recovery nothing short of a miracle.

"This is about justice. If they don't recover a penny they still believe in pursuing justice for Grayson."

The Barnharts are seeking payment for medical bills, lost wages and damages. They are not asking for a specific amount. They will leave that up to the courts to decide at the end of the civil case.

Samantha Dillbeck will be back in court for a pre-trial hearing in her criminal case next month.