A mother and her partner in Fife, Scotland, were convicted May 31 of murdering her 2-year-old son and abusing two other children.
Rachel Fee, 31, and her partner Nyomi Fee, 28, allegedly assaulted and murdered toddler Liam Fee in March 2014, subjecting him to severe blunt force trauma that ruptured his heart, according to the Daily Mail. The couple blamed the murder on another young boy.
The guilty verdict came after a seven-week trial, during which it was disclosed that the injuries suffered were similar to those caused by severe car accidents. The toddler, who was Rachel's son, had over 30 injuries on his body, including fractures to his arm and thigh.
The couple was also found guilty of repeatedly assaulting Liam and two other boys, who have not been identified due to their age, over a two-year period. The abuse reportedly included making the boys take cold showers, keeping one of them in a makeshift cage, and tying one to a chair surrounded by snakes and rats.
Social services had previously been contacted several times by people who were concerned for Liam's well-being. At one point, after the staff at Liam's nursery started noticing bruises and other injuries, Rachel told them Liam had been "nipping himself" and that she thought he had autism, according to the Daily Mail. The staff later called social services, and Rachel withdrew Liam from the nursery.
In January 2013, a social worker and police office were sent to Rachel and Nyomi's home to investigate claims that Liam was being abused. However, they were told that Liam had "bumped his head" and no charges were filed.
A social worker in Fife told the court that Liam "fell off their radar," according to BBC News. The Fife Child Protection Committee said it is going to perform a thorough review of Liam's case.
Detective Inspector Rory Hamilton commented on the complexity of the case and lauded the courage of the two other young boys, one of whom Rachel and Nyomi reportedly tried to pin the murder on.
"This was a complex, challenging and sensitive investigation which involved interviewing two young children to establish the level of abuse and neglect both [the two boys] and Liam Fee had been subjected to," Hamilton said, BBC News reports.
"It was because of their courage that detectives were able to identify Rachel and Nyomi Fee as being responsible for a wide range of serious [offenses] against three children."
Rachel and Nyomi Fee are scheduled to be sentenced July 6 at the High Court in Edinburgh, Scotland.