Two women from Muskogee, Oklahoma, were charged on Jan. 12 with child abuse and child neglect connected with the mistreatment of a 5-year-old over several months.
Rachel Stevens, 28, is the boy’s mother, and Kayla Jones, 25, is his stepmother, reports KOTV.
The boy was taken to hospital Dec. 8 due to lesions on his face and because he was having seizures. Soon after, doctors sent him to another medical facility in Oklahoma City, where it was discovered he had several broken bones in various stages of healing and was malnourished.
During the boy’s treatment, he had two strokes because of trauma, according to an affidavit reported by Tulsa World.
The court document alleges Stevens beat the boy with a belt, while Jones kicked him so hard in the groin he bled. Stevens was also accused of striking his hand with a hammer.
The boy told investigators he had been locked in a room and duct tape was put over his eyes.
Stevens admitted to police she had not taken the boy to hospital, although he had two prior seizures.
“Anytime you have child abuse or sexual abuse of a minor child, it's always difficult because we're dealing with such an innocent victim,” Muskogee County District Attorney Orvil Loge told KOTV.
Both Stevens and Jones declined to comment as they were handcuffed by officers and led away from the courtroom.
The pair initially sought to blame the boy for his injuries. They reportedly set up a GoFundMe page alleging the 5-year-old was picking his own face and had seizures because he fell down. Stevens and Jones claimed they never left the boy’s side while he was in hospital.
Police disagreed with that version of events, saying their investigation confirmed the boy had not caused his own injuries.
The boy is still in hospital but his health is reportedly improving. His two siblings, a 5-year-old identical twin brother and a 7-year-old sister, also lived in the home and have been taken into the care of the Department of Human Services. The siblings were reportedly not abused.