A 5-year-old boy was killed and his 6-year-old brother seriously injured after their mother and two other women savagely beat them for a period of 22 hours in a motel in Middletown, Ohio.
The boys' mother, Theresa Hawkins-Stephens, 26, and her friends, Rachael Bostian, 29, and Ramona Bostian, 56, were each arrested and charged with two counts of felonious assault and felony child endangering.
Hawkins-Stephens and Rachael Bostian were later charged with murder after the 5-year-old boy died of his injuries.
Police responded to a 911 call around 8 p.m. on April 27, in which a woman identifying herself as Rachael Bostian said that a young boy had died after wandering away from their campsite, according to Raw Story.
"We were camping in the woods, and he escaped the tent when we were sleeping, and he was gone for a couple days and some kids got ahold of him and messed him up real bad, and we didn't realize how bad it was," she said over the phone.
The officers and firefighters who arrived at the scene were so distressed that chaplains were brought in to counsel them. Hospital staff cried upon seeing the extent of the boys' injuries. The 5-year-old died at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. His brother was taken to Cincinnati Children's Liberty Campus, where he remains.
Major Mark Hoffman, assistant chief of Middletown police, called the incident "horrific."
"It's the worst that I've seen, anybody on the scene has seen," he said.
The three women reportedly wrapped the boys in sheets and viciously beat them after one of the boys stole some food. The assault lasted all day April 26 and part of the day April 27.
Police stated that no evidence of drug use was discovered at the camp site or the motel.
The women had traveled from Licking County in search of work. They camped for several days near the Little Miami River before getting a voucher from social services to stay at the Parkway Inn.
They are due to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, May 6, according to Rare.