Three-year-old beaten with belt and fists, drenched in scalding water by six adults including mother
All six adults, who lived in the same home, have been arrested and charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child
Six adults have been charged over the severe beating and abuse of a three-year-old boy including burning the child with scalding hot water in Newark, New Jersey. Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens and Newark Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose made the announcement, revealing some of the gruesome details in a case that has enraged the public.
According to a press release by the Essex County Prosecutor's Office on Facebook, the accused were arrested and have been identified as 62-year-old Patricia Gamarra, 55-year-old Mary Buchan, 28-year-old Patricia Buchan, 23-year-old Bridget Buchan, 39-year-old Homer Searcy aka Omar Searcy, and 43-year-old Natacha Smith, the mother of the victim.
The press release stated that all six lived in the same house in Newark, about 9 miles away from New York City. Nj.com reported that Smith and Searcy had some sort of relationship but that he was not the child's father. Mary Buchan and Patricia Gamarra are sisters, and Patricia Buchan and Bridget Buchan are Mary's daughters. The Buchan family is said to have lived at the home first, with Searcy and Smith moving in later.
The six adults are accused of the "systematic and coordinated beating of the child with a belt and fists," as well as pouring scalding hot water on the three-year-old as some twisted form of corporal punishment. Iit is not known how the police were tipped off about the abuse.
Workers at a food pantry across the street from their home were shocked to hear about the allegations. "No, we had no idea of what was going on," one said to ABC. "Sometimes they would bring the kids and whatever the case, and go back. Because we just service the community, we know they live there. So when the kids are out and we have little snacks and stuff, we give the kids something extra, but other than that, we haven't seen anything."
The investigation that eventually led the authorities to the house of horrors and to the arrest of the six housemates was conducted by the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Special Victims Unit in conjunction with the Newark Police Department's Special Victims Bureau.
All six have been charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of the three-year-old child. They are currently being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark and made their first court appearance on Thursday, December 13.
It is unclear if they are being represented by an attorney at the time, with the Essex County Prosecutor's Office insisting that "all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they enter a guilty plea or are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law."
The child, who was hospitalized in order to treat his injuries, has been released from the hospital and is in protective custody, Newark police said. Five other children, aged 1 to 7, were also living at the home at the time and all are now in the custody of child protective services.