Four jailed for abusing Missouri boy, 4, mom claims self harm after victim is found unresponsive, malnourished
The four arrested remain in jail with a bond set at $50,000 each and have their preliminary hearings just before Christmas on December 22 at 1 pm
STONE COUNTY, MISSOURI: In a shocking case of child abuse, Stone County, Missouri, deputies arrested four persons after a month-long investigation into a case involving a four-year-old child suffering from extreme malnutrition. The boy's mother, Dessa A Barton, and her boyfriend, W Dalton McLendon, both 26, McLendon's 53-year-old mother, Katherine Kost, and her boyfriend, Richard A Hilliker, 52, are facing charges of endangering the welfare of a child and child abuse. The young boy was found unresponsive and in critical condition as a result of multiple injuries and extreme malnutrition.
When asked about her son's serious injuries, Barton said the boy had been self-harming by clawing at his own arms, nose and banging his head into things, which caused all his causing injuries. The child was still in Kansas City but now in stable condition, according to Fox 2 Now. According to a report in KTVI, when the police asked her if she took her son to get medical help, she said she meant to go on Medicaid so she could take him, but Covid-19 caused the delay.
According to the Stone County Sheriff's Office, on November 6, investigators received a 911 call about an unresponsive child in a Billings home. After rescuing, the child was taken to a Springfield hospital, and then airlifted to a Kansas City hospital. The mother might claim that the injuries are a result of self-harm but when investigators asked medical personnel, they confirmed that the injuries were consistent with physical abuse, but the malnutrition was their "primary concern", adding that the location of some injuries was inconsistent with the possibility of self-harm.
On November 25, when Stone County detectives went back to the boy's home, they found a wooden crate made of pallets. Sheriff Rader says detectives believe the crate "was used to cage the victim for extended periods of time," the sheriff's office said. The four arrested remain in jail with a bond set at $50,000 each and have their preliminary hearings just before Christmas on December 22 at 1 pm. The report adds that the young boy had been in Barton's care since January 2020. She lived with McLendon in the home in Billings with McLendon's mother, Katherine Kost.