Journey Ann Cowart
January 10, 2013 - January 21, 2014
Find A Grave Memorial

If I was given one wish, it honestly would be to not ever have to add another NEW story of a child being abused to death, to my site. That statement could be misunderstood, but let me clarify, it would mean that there were no more children being abused to death and that would illiminate the need to add new stories, though I know there would always be old stories. In this day and age, it's something I have trouble understanding when a very new story comes to me, why are children STILL being abused to death in the year 2014? Why aren't children better protected after all of the new laws and promised of better protection for the most innocent among us? Why is it that abusers are given chance after chance after chance to improve their behavior when time after time after time, it is proven that they WILL NOT CHANGE!

Journey Ann Coward was rushed to the hospital on January 21, 2014, she was not breathing, she had barely turned one year old, she had not lived life at all, she had not experienced the most simple things in life, she was abused to death by the woman who gave birth to her and that woman's boyfriend. Brandy Ann Boyd, a 25 year old monster and Austin Levi Payne, a 24 year old monster, beat this little Angel to death 11 days after her first birthday. It took three days for them to be arrested on charges of first degree cruelty to children and aggravated assault and a few days later they were charged with murder and held without bond when autopsy results revealed the suffering this precious gift from God had been going through at their hands:

"The child had healed ribs, a fractured skull and blunt force trauma to the stomach.
And she also had a femur that had cracked and had already healed. The medical
examiner says this appears to be the worst she has ever seen. It's a systematically,
to seven months of abuse on this young child. I love what I do, but that's the
part that makes it hard, especially this little girl has no more chances, she's out.
Rest in peace
Sheriff Clark Millsap

Though this family had never been investigated for child abuse before, in the year 2013 Police had become involved with the family when Blake Coward, Journey's father, was reported missing. Blake had stopped taking a medication for a brain injury he had and was suffering short term memory loss, concussion and seizures. Brandy was living with him at the time and she said she was also afraid that he had been using drugs. Blake was eventually found by a fisherman in the Etowah River about 15 yards from his home. After Blake was found, his parents Allen and Mellodie Hunt said that they had a very hard time getting Brandy to allow them to visit Journey even once a month.


When the grandparents were able to visit Journey, they started to notice bruises and Brandy would always try to explain them by saying that she had fallen. These grandparents wanted to have Journey buried next to her father and after her funeral they said this:

"I can't wrap my mind around that someone did that to a baby. It's supposed to be your
natural instinct as a mother to protect her"

It didn't take Brandy long to move on from her relationship with Blake because that same year, she was already in a new relationship with Austin. On her Facebook page, Brandy listed her job:

Austin listed his job as "boxing". Most of the pictures on Brandy's Facebook were of her and her boyfriend and she had a little picture that says "Nothing faker than a friendly hater". I wonder if she applied that to herself as her daughter was dying from the beating she helped give her.

In February, the community came together in support of the "Journey Ann Cowart Foundation" to join the "Justice For Journey" walk. Proceeds from the walk would go to support the foundation which helps child abuse victims and educates families and the community on the signs of child abuse.

A protest was under way in May of 2014 when it was learned that Brandy was going to be given bond and 30 people showed up in front of the Courthouse to let it know that they were not happy about Brandy's bond, even though it was for $1 million dollars. A member of the group "Justice For Journey" said:

"Journey is no longer here. She wasn't able to fight back. She was an innocent victim and we
want to make sure the person that harmed her pays for that"
Allison Johnson

Becky Kemble runs a Facebook page "Beat The Drum For Justice For Our Children" and she made the accusation that Rosemary Greene who was the District Attorney was taking no action in this case:

"We all came together to see to it that justice is done. We're protesting.
The District Attorney has failed"

Becky was asked if she thought Brandy could make bond and she said that believed it might be possible. Chief Assistant District Attorney Mickey Thacker said that the reason bond was given was because a lot of time had passed without a complete forensic report:

"A person has a right to have a bond set by a court if there is no indictment turned
against them within 90 days of being charged. Her attorney filed a motion to have
a bond hearing"

Mickey Thacker said that the case was at a stand still until a cause of death could be determined, the injuries could be determined and a timeline of events could be established. Allison Johnson said that it was their hope that the report would come through and bond would be revoked. Austin was also granted the same bond in the same month.

In September of 2014, a Grand Jury indicted Austin Levi Payne and Brandy Ann Boyd on a 22 count indictment with charges that included malice murder, felony murder, cruelty to children in the first degree, battery and aggravated battery.


Journey Ann Cowart, 1, of Cartersville, died Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at Cartersville Medical Center.<

Born January 10, 2013 in Cartersville, she was the daughter of the late Richard Blake Cowart and Brandy Ann Boyd. Our sunshine is gone away and she will be greatly missed. In addition to her father, she is preceded in death by her paternal great-grandfather, Lonnie Richard Cowart and her maternal great-grandmother, Alice L. Priest.

In addition to her mother, survivors include her brothers, Talen Ferguson and Charlie Cowart, both of Cartersville; paternal grandparents, Mellodie and Allen Hunt and Richard Todd Cowart, all of Cartersville; paternal great-grandmother, Barbara Cowart of Cartersville; paternal great-great-grandparents, John & Betty Flowers of Cartersville; maternal grandparents, Michael & Libbie Boyd of Rome; maternal great-grandparents, Billy and Mary Ann Boyd of Cartersville; aunt, Mandi Danielle Cowart; uncles, Cam Cowart and Jesse Boyd; 2 cousins, and many other relatives.<

Funeral Services will be held on Monday, February 3, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. at the Church at Liberty Square with The Reverend Dr. Joe E. Edwards and The Reverend Dr. Jacob King officiating. Interment will follow in Oak Hill Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the Church on Monday from 1 until 3:00 p.m.

Parnick Jennings Funeral Home & Cremation Services is honored to serve the family of Journey Cowart, please visit to share your memories or leave a condolence message.

Thank you Cat, someone who cares so much about the children.

UPDATE: July 2, 2016 - Thank you Kami for this update.

In June of 2015 Judge Carey T. Nelson sentenced Austin Levi Payne and Brandy Ann Boyd to live in prison without parole (YAY) for what they did to Journey. In may, both Austin and Brandy had been conviction on 15 different charges, six counts of felony murder, five counts of cruelty to children in the first degree, three counts of aggravated battery and one count of battery. Austin and Brandy were found not guilty on four counts of malice murder and Brandy was also found not guilty on two counts of cruelty to children. Austin was also found not guilty on three counts of cruelty to children.

Reports say that Blake Cowart, Journey's father, was found dead in the Etowah River in May of 2013, he had been missing for over a month.

This page was created on November 12, 2014
Death occurred in the state of Georgia

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