An Arizona couple was arrested after authorities found severe burns and multiple bruises on their 6-year-old son's body July 12.
The child’s father, 27-year-old Mark Simmons, confessed to disciplining the child by "taking the boy outside and making him stand barefoot on the ground in the backyard as punishment” for ten minutes, KNXV reports.
The Washington Post reports temperatures in Arizona the day of the incident were as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit -- hot enough to burn bare feet.
Mark also admitted to beating the child with a belt, bruising the boy’s body.
At the same time, the child’s stepmother, 30-year-old Sarah Simmons, reportedly cut the boy’s injured skin and warned that "if he didn't stop crying, he would go back outside and burn worse."
Afterward, the woman allegedly tended to the boy, applying medicine and bandaging the child’s injuries.
“It was only when the victim’s wounds became infected and the top of his feet became red that she and Mark decided to call the fire department for medical care,” police documents state.
Horrified neighbors say they are not surprised by the reports of child abuse.
"I always see the kids out there by themselves. My kids have offered them water bottles when they come home from school. The parents don't open the door right away. We've tried to bring them in our house before," said an unidentified woman.
Others hope the parents face justice.
"As a mother and homeowner, we don't need that riffraff in our community. Those children don't need to be in the care of somebody like that. They're animals. They're pigs. Absolutely disgusting, this makes me sick," continued the unidentified female neighbor.
"Yeah, they should be put in jail because no kid deserves that. It's awful,” agreed another local resident.
It’s not the first time a parent has been arrested for burning their child, WCAU reports.
New Jersey mother Hyphernkemberly Dorvilier was accused of setting her newborn baby -- with umbilical cord still attached -- on fire in January 2015.
"My wife heard the baby scream," witness Davis Joseph said. "And then I slammed the door shut. She tried to run for it. Then I put her to the ground. That's when we saw it was a baby."
"It's disheartening, like a nightmare, what I saw out there," Joseph added.