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  • Writer's pictureRobin Lyons

Behind Closed Doors

This true crime involves the suspicious death of a 12-year-old boy while living with his grandparents. His 18-year-old aunt and two uncles (14 and 6 years old) lived in the home as well.

According to the grandparents, the victim had been acting out—stealing, drinking alcohol, etc. He’d also begun harming himself—so they said in their initial interviews. They said the young boy had been hearing voices in his head and was suicidal. Supposedly, the voices were telling him to kill family members. The investigators found no reports from the family about the child’s mental health.

The grandfather admitted paddling the boy with a wood paddle he’d made. According to the detectives, the boy had bruises that didn't match self-inflicted injuries. They also noticed a deep gash on the back of the boy’s head, an indentation in the wall and blood on the wall.

Later, the autopsy results determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the back of the head. The grandparents explained the wound as the boy running headlong into an entertainment center. After obtaining a search warrant, the investigation team did a more extensive search. They found blood evidence to show the boy’s injury had happened elsewhere in the house, from where his body was when they first arrived. Someone had tried to clean up the blood.

Upon interviewing the 14-year-old uncle, he admitted he and his nephew got into some fights. And the night before, he’d “beat him up pretty good.” That same night, the 18-year-old returned from a friend’s and found the nephew asleep on the floor with her mother (the grandmother) nearby, asleep on the sofa. The 18-year-old texted a friend that she thought her brother had killed her nephew. The family members present during the fight claimed the uncle had never hit the boy in the head.

When the detectives looked at recordings on the family members’ phones, they found evidence that his entire family had tortured the victim for years. I’ll spare you the details of the torture.

At the grandmother’s sentencing, the judge said,

“The video evidence provided showing the various ways in which [she] systematically abused [her grandson], was the most horrific he had seen during his time on the bench.”

A judge sentenced the 49-year-old grandfather to 100 years in prison for deliberate homicide. After pleading guilty, a judge sentenced the 51-year-old grandmother to life in prison for deliberate homicide, criminal child endangerment, and witness tampering. The 14-year-old uncle accepted a plea agreement to juvenile detention, and adult probation for deliberate homicide. The 18-year-old aunt received probation for testifying against her parents if they were to go on trial. #childabuse #murder

Source: State Court Probably Cause, Law and Crime, Oxygen True Crime, Bozeman Daily Chronicle

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