A 12-year-old boy was found lifeless and his uncle and grandparents are now facing charges after they were caught on camera beating him.
According to a news release obtained by PEOPLE, Patricia Batts, James Sassar Jr., and a juvenile male were arrested by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office after the death of 12-year-old James Alex Hurley.
The teen uncle and grandparents have been charged with deliberate homicide after the young boy was found lifeless on February 3 due to blunt force trauma to the back of his head.
According to reports, the 12-year-old had been living with his grandparents and their children. However, police allege James experienced severe abuse from their hands.
During police investigation, a video footage they discovered showed the family torturing the 12-year-old boy before he passed away, according to KBZK and WGNTV.
Bjorn Boyer, Deputy County Attorney with the Gallatin County Attorney’s Office, said to KTVH-TV that ‘systematic torture and beatings’ resulted in James’ demise.
Police responded to the grandparents’ home after they reported James’ death. Deputies then found the child to have contusions and wounds all over his body, prompting them to call homicide detectives.
He also “appeared to be emaciated” at the time of his death while a video from two years ago showed him as a “healthy and well fed boy,” according to court documents.
The grandparents and teen uncle are accused of withholding meals from the boy and forcing him to do activities like squats and jumping jacks.
James’ family said to investigators the child and his teen uncle usually fought. Batts even said to investigators that on February 2 woke up to find James allegedly being hit by his 14-year-old uncle with a paddle.
Sasser also said to investigators that he only learned of the boy’s death the next day when Batts contacted him while he was going to work.
Police also arrested 18-year-old Gage Roush on allegations he also maltreated James.
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