The 5-year-old child, Andrew, was reported missing by his parents, 61-year-old Andrew Sr. and 37-year-old mother Joann. But, the concern for the boy’s parents also quickly turned to suspicion as they stopped cooperating with investigators.
Eventually, the boy’s dad led authorities to a shallow grave in a field not far from their home. There, the child’s battered body was found wrapped in plastic and buried. Andrew’s parents were taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder in the death of their son.
An autopsy determined that the child had been repeatedly struck in the head and that he had also inhaled his own blood before dying of blunt force trauma. The boy’s mom pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and admitted to beating her son to death, burying his body, then falsely reporting him as missing.
Unfortunately, this was far from the first time the child was abused. During her sentencing hearing, prosecutors played a tape of a family argument between the mother and the little boy, which took place just 15 days before his death.
The boy could be heard telling his mom that he would like to have “really bad people do bad things to her”, Daily Mail reported. “Why do you want those bad people to hurt me?” the mother can be heard asking, to which Andrew responded,
“So I don’t ever see you again.” the boy said. Two weeks after that tape was captured, Andrew died alone in the dark, his head bearing the outlines of the showerhead his mother admittedly struck him with after forcing him to stand under freezing water as a punishment for soiling himself.
An emergency room doctor, who saw a softball-size bruise on the boy’s hip four months before he died, asked him about the bruise.
Dr. Channon said the boy told her, “Maybe mommy didn’t mean to hurt me,” forcing her to stop asking questions as she concluded that he should meet with a forensic interviewer and be examined by a child-abuse pediatrician. She said she contracted child services but was told no investigators were available at that time. “We did not want Andrew to leave with Joann that day,” she testified.
The mother was not new to child protective authorities. She had two complaints brought against her even before the boy’s birth — one for inadequate supervision and the other for “risk of harm and environmental neglect.” In addition, both her and the baby tested positive for opiates when Andrew was born, prompting the Department of Children and Family Services to take the baby into custody.
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