An Oklahoma woman called police to have her boyfriend arrested after he allegedly beat her 5-year-old son as punishment for taking a Christmas present from under the tree and opening it without permission. (Warning: The photos below are graphic.)
Bridgette Payne described the experience and shared photos of her son's injuries on Facebook in a Dec. 18 post that has since gone viral, gaining 11,000 likes and more than 7,800 shares in two days.
According to Payne's post, the incident happened on Dec. 16 while she was out alone Christmas shopping. Her boyfriend, 25-year-old Wesley McCollum, offered to watch her children while she ran her errands.
When Payne got home around dinner time, McCollum told her that her son Ayrian, 5, had gotten in trouble for taking a present from under the Christmas tree and opening it early.
"He said it happened right before I got home and his punishment was to stand in the corner and then sent him to bed," Payne wrote on Facebook.
Nothing seemed wrong, according to Payne. After her other three sons finished eating dinner and went to bed, she told McCollum to bring Ayrian out to eat dinner.
But when Ayrian came out to eat, Payne saw her son covered in bruises, including what appeared to be a hand print on his cheek.
"Words cannot explain seeing your baby like this and having no clue what happened," Payne wrote. "I ran to him like any mother would do crying, hugging him, begging what happened. 'Wesley hurt me bad mama,' is all he kept saying."
McCollum said the beating was to "teach him a lesson" and "he needed to learn to listen," according to Payne. She wasn't having any of it.
Payne called the police and McCollum was arrested on complaints of child abuse and child neglect, according to KJRH. The district attorney's office will decide if charges will be filed. In the meantime, Payne has filed a protective order against McCollum.
McCollum wasn't an angry person, according to Payne's Facebook post. "I never EVER thought he would do this or I would of never been with him," she wrote. "Plain and simple."
Two years earlier, Payne left an abusive relationship with the father of her children and swore she would never put her children in that situation again, according to her post.
"There is an evil inside of some people no one sees and that's how this happened," she wrote. "If I could change my son places in a heartbeat I would."