A 5-year old boy has died after he was allegedly tortured by his parents. A mother and her boyfriend have been put into police custody after the death, which took place in Philadelphia. Little Dashawn Harris died inside his mother’s apartment and police say they saw signs of abuse on the child, including cigarette burns on his chest and feet.
The boy was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital and pronounced dead. Shortly afterward, Lashay Patterson and her boyfriend, Christian Patrick, were arrested for the boy’s death. They are being charged with murder and were arrested on Saturday morning after questioning.
A local ABC News affiliate is saying that Patrick became angry while trying to teach the boy to read and write, beating him with a belt and then burning him with a hair dryer.
“I can’t believe she did that,” said Grace Fitch, little Dashawn’s grandmother. “Shay was just the sweetest person you could meet and when she got with this guy she just started getting distant.”
Tracy Merriweather, the boy’s aunt, lived right next door and says that she witnessed several instances of domestic violence between the couple. They also believe that the boy’s three year old brother was being abused as well.