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Mother of woman accused of child abuse says it was all an accident

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jackson County prosecutors charged Renita Triplett with child abuse but, the suspect's mother is defending her daughter and said it was all an accident.

Renita Triplett's mother said Triplett would never intentionally hurt anyone, especially her own grandchildren.

69-year-old Julia Powell said her daughter, Renita, is her caregiver, the mother of three adult kids and the grandmother of three little ones.

"She's not no bad person. She takes care of me and this house," Julia Powell said.

But now 42-year-old Renita Tripllet sits in jail charged with child abuse.

According to court records, last September Triplett's 5-year-old granddaughter suffered a serious eye injury at the hands of her grandma.

A probable cause statement reveals the child's eye was red, swollen and watery. The little girl underwent surgery several days later.

Court documents further reveal the following month, the child told investigators "her grandma Nita hit her in the eye by accident" with a belt.

The child then said it wasn't an accident and that Triplett was giving her a "whipping for not going to bed when she was told."

"She wasn't trying to hit her in her eye. Plus, she's not a child abuser," Powell said. "They were just clowning around and she kept telling them to stop."

Powell said Triplett's 8-year-old grandson was horsing around with his sister at the time, and Triplett accidentally hit her granddaughter. Police arrested Triplett Saturday during a traffic stop.

"So she got the belt just to scare him off you know and [she] got in the way when she tried to hit at him and [she] got in the way and accidentally got hit in her eye," Powell explained.

"I'm hoping and praying that they let my baby go home," she added.

Renita Triplett sits in jail on a $20,000 bond. She's scheduled to go to court next week.