NEWARK, New Jersey— New details of the alleged torture and abuse of a three year-old boy emerged in court here, as the public got its first view of the six adults charged with the crimes.
The boy’s mother, her boyfriend, and the family of four women whose apartment they shared, were all on the docket, seeking to be granted bail from the lockup in which they’d been held since their arrest on December 6th.
In the end, of the six defendants charged, only one was released, due to the severity of the alleged crimes against the child.
“His mother burned him with cigarettes,” prosecutor Kathleen Lyons-Boswick said, in her argument against setting bail.
“There’s probable cause,” she continued, “to believe the adults in the home kept a pot of hot water on the stove and poured it on him as a form of punishment.”
She went on to describe other horrors alleged to have happened behind closed doors at the families’ home at 252 Clinton Place in Newark’s South Ward, including one of the defendants body slamming the boy, others beating him with their fists, another holding him down while yet another beat him.
Worse still, five other children, ranging in age from one to seven, lived in the apartment with the six adults, and the children were allegedly instructed to join in the abuse.
“Some of the adults in the home taught the other children in the home to beat the three year-old with a belt,” Lyons-Boswick said.
The severe punishment was doled out any time the boy wet his pants, which was an issue for the three year-old, according to investigators.
They said that the abuse lasted three months, until a preschool nurse reported signs of it to authorities.
It led to charges of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child, against each defendant.
The prosecutor asked for no bail for Natacha Smith, or for her boyfriend, Homer Searcy.
They received no bail.
Neither did two of the members of the Buchan Family. Mary, was accused of directing a lot of the abuse, and her daughter, Bridget, was accused of carrying out some of it.
They were kept in custody, having been identified to police by Bridget’s sister, Patricia Buchan, who was also arrested for abuse.
Patricia, however, is 26 weeks pregnant, and had given birth prematurely in the pregnancies of her four other children, all of whom were living in the apartment where the alleged abuse had taken place.
The judge concluded that Patricia Buchan should be released from custody, under house arrest, with an electronic ankle bracelet monitor. She wept openly when the judge made the ruling.
One more defendant, Patricia Gamarra, was not able to have her bail hearing on Tuesday, because her attorney had a conflicting engagement.
Gamarra will have the next hearing on Thursday.
She and all of the other defendants have their next criminal hearing in the case on January 4th.
Meanwhile, all six children, including the three year-old who was the main target of the alleged abuse, are in state custody. They are all doing well, according to prosecutors.
Correction: In the video, Patricia Buchan is said to be 26 months pregnant. She is 26 weeks pregnant.