A New Orleans mother and her live-in boyfriend are behind bars after her 5-year-old son was sent to the hospital. The two adults are accused of abusing the boy, which reportedly led to his hospitalization.
Police arrested the mother, Heather Simpson, 37, and her boyfriend Christian DeGregory, 34, after emergency medical services were called to their house.
The boy was taken to the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans on Monday. There he was treated for bites, bruises, and several burn wounds. He also suffered from head trauma and was missing several teeth and fingernails.
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Simpson and DeGregory were arrested and booked on Tuesday on charges of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. If charged, they could face up to 40 years behind bars.
According to Lt. Jenerio Sanders, commander of the New Orleans Police Department’s Special Victims Section, the boy and his sister are in the custody of the state.
"This is a bad case," said Sanders. "This is something that I believe this child has been suffering for quite some time. This is not an incident where this child just started having some problems and issues. This has been an ongoing thing for quite some time."
Simpson was working at the Scores Mansion strip club at the time emergency services was called, according to the Daily Mail.
"We arrested both mom and the boyfriend, because of the medical neglect on their part, with second-degree cruelty," Sanders said. "We're still in the course of conducting an investigation to try to find out where these bruises are coming from. We have the 3-year-old set up for a forensic interview to see if she can shed some light on what's happened.”
The couple asserted that the injuries came from the boy’s 3-year-old sister beating him up as well as a series of five seizures the boy had previously suffered from.
However, Sanders said, “I doubt it seriously that a 3-year-old has beaten somebody up to the point that they knocked teeth out.”
The boy had never been treated for his seizures until 911 was called on Monday. He has since had two brain surgeries to treat his problems. He is now in a medically induced coma, New Orleans police stated on Wednesday.
According to Sanders, the boy was not enrolled in school at the time of the arrest.
Photo Credit: The Daily Mail, NOLA.com, Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office