Family Crimes

Six Accused Of 'Systematically’ Beating 3-Year-Old, Burning Him With Scalding Water

Natacha Smith, the boy's mother, and five others who lived in the same home face charges of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child in Essex County, New Jersey.

Six people from New Jersey are accused of taking turns beating and burning a young boy with scalding hot water as some sort of cruel punishment.  

Patricia Gamarra, 62, Mary Buchan, 55, Patricia Buchan, 28, Bridget Buchan, 23, Natacha Smith, 43, and Homer Searcy, 39, have all been arrested and charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a 3-year-old boy, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said on Wednesday.

All six adults live in the same home in Newark. Smith is the boy’s mother.

"They are accused of the systematic and coordinated beating of the child with a belt and fists and pouring scalding water on him as a form of corporal punishment,” the prosecutor's office alleges, adding that the boy was beaten “severely.”

The injuries were so severe, in fact, that the child had to be hospitalized, according to NJ.com. He has since been released and is now in protective custody.

Police were alerted to the alleged abuse by a nurse at the boy’s preschool, according to WNBC in New York. That nurse noticed burns and bruises on the boy’s body, including bruises on his stomach, back and face.

Although it’s not clear what all the relationships are between the six adults, NJ.com reports that Mary Buchan and Patricia Gomarra are sisters, and Patricia Buchan and Bridget Buchan are Mary’s Bunchan’s daughters. The publication also reports that Searcy and Smith are in a relationship but that he is not the victim’s father.

Mary Buchan was arrested Tuesday, while several others were arrested on Friday.

There were five other children ranging in age from 1 to 7 in the home with the six defendants. They are all now in protective custody.

It’s not clear if the suspects have lawyers who can speak on their behalf at this time.

[Photo: Essex County Prosecutor's Office]

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