Mother And Boyfriend Arrested For Beating Special Needs Son

| by Brendan Kelly

A mother in Hancock, Maryland, was indicted for the beating of her special needs son had reportedly taken pictures and videos of her son's injuries and Google searched "how to make bruises go away."

Ashley Barnhart's 6-year-old son Dustin is currently in a rehabilitation center in Pennsylvania recovering from various injuries, including brain injuries and bruises, reports Herald-Mail Media.

The boy was reportedly abused by Barnhart's boyfriend for several months and police have confirmed that she was also involved in the abuse of her son.

Circuit Judge M. Jenneth Long Jr. set  Barnhart's bail at $400,000. She has been indicted on eight charges, including child neglect, first-degree assault, and first-degree child abuse resulting in severe injury.

Barnhart's boyfriend, Aaron Vanmeter, 21, was also arrested and is being held on $1 million bail.

State Attorney Sarah Mollett-Gaumer said that this case "stems not from a single incident."

Mollett-Gaumer also said Dustin had 85 abrasions and bruises when he was examined after the July 2 beating. Barnhart, 25, and Vanmeter said Dustin had hurt himself falling down the porch steps, according to Mollett-Gaumer.

Doctors quickly determined the injuries were consistent with abuse.

Dustin was unconscious and not breathing when Barnhart called 911, court documents noted.

Vanmeter had allegedly kicked Dustin with steel-toed boots just days before the assault that left the boy unconscious.

Barnhart's involvement in the abuse was revealed by photographic evidence. She had also performed Internet searches for information about how to hide bruises in an attempt to cover up her involvement in the abuse, reports Inquisitr.

Barnhart told authorities she was also being abused by Vanmeter, but police have said those claims were not convincing or believable.

Sources: Herald-Mail Media, Inquisitr / Photo credit: Herald-Mail Media