A mother and her live-in girlfriend suspected of torturing the mom’s 5-year-old son were taken into custody Monday and the child remained in critical condition at a hospital, police said.
Starkeisha Brown, 24, who was already on parole, and Krystal Matthews, 21, allegedly denied Brown’s son food and water, beat him repeatedly, inflicted multiple cigarette burns to his body including his genital area, burned him on the stove and left him to sit in his own urine. They also allowed an exposed nerve in his tooth to go untreated said Los Angeles Police Department First Assistant Chief James McDonnell.
Brown turned herself in to LAPD’s 77th jail Friday night after the child abuse case was reported to the media. She was booked on suspicion of torture and held without bail.
Matthews was arrested by detectives when she showed up for her Department and Children and Family Services (DCFS) appointment. During the appointment, Brown and Matthews brought a healthy child of a mutual friend and tried to pass off that child as Brown’s son. At the same time of the DCFS appointment, a stranger found the boy abandoned and notified authorities.
“Thankfully we were later able to locate our victim who had been left abandoned with an unrelated stranger,” said McDonnell.
McDonnell said he had looked at photographs of the victim and said, “in my time (with the police department) I have never seen anybody with these kind of injuries that has lived. This kid must have a tremendous will to live to be able to still hang on despite what he’s been through.”
Brown is being held in custody without bail as she faces one charge of torturing. Matthews is charged with willful harm or injury to a child. Her bail was set at $100,000.
The three lived near 110th and Figueroa streets in South Los Angeles.
Lieutenant Vincent Neglia of the LAPD’s Abused Child Unit was shaken by the child’s treatment. “The treatment of this 5-year-old is akin to a level of torture we hope our military personnel would never encounter, yet this treatment came to this child at the hands of those in a position of trust.”
The child was hospitalized Monday and his medical condition remains guarded.
Both suspects have a history of violence and both have criminal records and are gang members, according to news sources.