A 19-year-old woman and her boyfriend were arrested after the woman’s 4-year-old son was beating and burned to death after he accidentally spilled his breakfast cereal.
On Monday morning, Tahjir Smith, 4, hesitantly told his mother he made a mess with his breakfast. What occurred next could only be described as a horrific beating and unfortunate death of a child.
According to authorities, Tahjir’s mother, Lisa Smith and her 26-year-old boyfriend Keiff King, used their hands and a shoes to repeatedly hit the child. The abuse continued for so long, Tahjir was unresponsive before he was even seen by officials, reported Philly.com.
On Tuesday, Smith and King were charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault, child endangerment, and related offenses.
“This senseless death of a 4-year-old boy at the hands of the very adults who are supposed to care for him and keep him safe is a horrible tragedy,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said in a statement to the local news outlet. “This is the face of domestic violence — a preschooler was beaten until he stopped breathing because he spilled his cereal.”
Smith, who is eight-months pregnant, told police that after Tahjir told her about the spill, she took the child to the bedroom and ordered him into the “position,” she said is like a pushup position. When Tahjir reportedly moved out of the position, she told him, “You are playing with me,” according to the charging documents.
When Smith told King about Tahjir’s behavior, he punched Tahjir in the back of the head. Then the child was placed on the bed and the couple alternated hitting the boy with a show. Eventually, Tahjir urinated on himself, which prompted the couple to place him in the shower. However, the abuse did not end there.
Smith told police. King turned the water from cold to hot, according to the documents.
While in the shower, Tahjir was unresponsive and when Smith said she wanted to call 911, King told her, “He is still breathing. He is cool. He is still up,” according to the documents. Then, Smith said she watched Tahjir’s eyes roll back and his mouth open. The couple then called 911.
The couple was arraigned Monday before District Judge John D. Kessler, with bail set at $500,000 each.
Unable to post bail, the pair was being held Tuesday night at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, awaiting a Jan. 31 preliminary hearing.