By Angie Thompson



TIFTON -- A 34-year-old Tifton woman died here Sunday after an altercation in Sylvester. Her 16-year-old son has been charged with voluntary manslaughter.

Tabatha Bush was visiting relatives in Sylvester Sunday when she and her son began arguing, according to Sylvester Police Chief Tommy Bozeman.

"We understand she was struck in the head," Bozeman said. "Family members stopped the altercation and then the mother (Bush) and her 10-year-old traveled back to Tifton."

Bozeman said the boy used his fist(s) to strike Bozeman in her head.

A short time after arriving back at her home in Tifton, Bush called E-911 because she wasn't feeling well.

"From what we understand, she passed out at the hospital," Bozeman said.

Bush died at 8:30 p.m., approximately 30 minutes after arriving at Tift Regional Medical Center. Her 16-year-old son is being held at the Regional Youth Detention Center in Albany and his name is not being released. It is believed, however, that the boy will be charged as an adult.

An autopsy was performed Monday morning at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Moultrie.

"We are waiting for the official results of the autopsy, but preliminary findings are that her death results from the blow to the head," Bozeman said.

The preliminary cause of death was found to be "stress-induced cardiac arrest."

Bozeman said his officers didn't respond to the altercation at 211 E. Pine St. in Sylvester. His office was notified of Bush's death by the Tifton Police Department and his investigation began. Agents with the GBI are also investigating the incident.

If the boy is prosecuted as an adult on the charge of voluntary manslaughter and found guilty, he could face 20 years in prison.

In an unrelated incident, Ruthie Mae Stewart, 45, of 120 E. 13th St., was charged with aggravated assault Sunday after she stabbed Alfred Leon Walker, 45, same address, in the leg with a kitchen knife. Paramedics found a bleeding Walker sitting in a chair outside the residence when they arrived. Stewart reported that Walker hit her during an argument and she stabbed him.

According to the incident report, the knife went completely through Walker's leg. A spokesperson at Tift Regional Medical Center said Monday that Walker was released from the emergency room Monday morning.

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