GRAY, Georgia (STPNS) --     A tragedy occurred in Jones County last week that took the life of one teenager and perhaps the freedom of another.

    Cassandra Elaine Hornsby, 17, died in a Macon hospital July 1.  She was pronounced dead at 11:20 p.m., according to Jones County Coroner Jerry Bridges Sr., and the official cause of her death was a basic skull fracture.

    Christopher Mauldin, 18, was arrested June 30 and charged with failure to render aid because of his involvement with Hornsby?s injuries, and, following her death, the young man was also charged with homicide by vehicle.

    Jones County Sheriff?s Department Lieutenant Jimmy Black said deputies and rescue volunteers were called to a home on Tanner Terrace at approximately 6 p.m. June 29.  Hornsby was found lying on the floor unconscious and was transported to the Medical Center.

    Because of Hornsby?s injuries and information received when she was found, officers suspected she had been involved in an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) accident.  An investigation of the wreck revealed that it occurred in the early morning hours while Hornsby was riding as a passenger with Mauldin.  

    Both teenagers suffered injuries from the four-wheeler accident, and it appears Mauldin took Hornsby back to the Tanner Terrace residence, left her on the floor unconscious, and sought medical attention for himself.

    Black said the investigation indicates that the accident took place at 3 or 4 a.m., and Hornsby was unconscious for 12 or more hours prior to emergency personnel arriving at the scene.

    The lieutenant said the case is still under investigation and more charges are possible partially because, at the time of the accident, Hornsby was babysitting her three-year-old niece.

    ?A family friend noticed the child was unattended and then found Cassie on the floor,? Black said.

    He said investigators were able to find where the accident took place, and there was no indication that Hornsby was conscious when she was taken back to the residence.  The wreck occurred about one-half of a mile from the Tanner Terrace home.

    ?We have no explanation for assistance not being sought for Cassie,? Black added.

    As of Tuesday, Mauldin was being held without bond.

    The coroner said he ruled the manner of Hornsby?s death as an accident because the wreck was not something that was planned.

    ?I don?t know if Miss Hornsby would have lived if she had been taken immediately to the doctor after the accident, but she wasn?t given that chance,? Bridges commented.