BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two Baton Rouge women have been arrested on charges of child cruelty after a 9-year-old was found with black eyes, and said he was punched and whipped with a stick, according to a probable cause affidavit from the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office.
Deputies with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office were called by 26-year-old Ashley Nicole Newton in reference to her missing 9-year-old child. The child was with a neighbor who took him to the sheriff's office.
The neighbor, Sharika Hayes, showed 9News pictures she said she took of her son's nine-year-old friend when she found him inside her house on Thursday.
"I cried when I saw him. So, that's how bad it is," Hayes said.
She said the boy's eyes were black and blue, his body covered in bruises, his legs and lower body were swollen.
"Her child came to me and asked how are you supposed to get a whooping? If your child come as me how are you supposed to get a whooping, something's not right, and that opened my eyes," Hayes said.
Hayes said when she approached the boy's mother on Wednesday, her worst fear was confirmed.
"Her response was, I don't whoop with belts. I get them ready for the real world," Hayes said.
Hayes told deputies the child ran away from home on Wednesday because Newton, the child's mother, punched him and whipped him with a stick, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Neighbors are still having a hard time processing what they said they saw when Newton found out her son had run away
That night, Hayes took the child back home and witnessed Newton "punch the child, kick him in the groin, push him into a gutter, drag him to the house, slam his head into a door and then beat him with a pipe." She also witnessed 19-year-old Kolbi Annette Joseph kick the child multiple times as he was being dragged into the house.
The nine-year-old was so scared, Hayes said, he snuck in her son's bedroom window in the middle of the night.
The child told Hayes that Joseph has held a gun to his head on multiple occasions, and also punched him in the face and body many times.
The report says Newton did not realize the child was missing until about 10 a.m. and did not call the Sheriff's Office until around 11:30 a.m.
The deputy spoke with the child an said all bruises on his body were from Newton hitting him with a stick and stomping on him. The probable cause report says the victim's sister was asked by Newton to hold down the 9-year-old child while she spanked him with a belt until he bled. The sister also told deputies Joseph witnessed this.
Joseph told deputies she did see Newton spank the child, but she did not put a gun to his head or discipline him in any way. Newton told deputies she did not hit the child with anything other than a belt and did not know "the victim was as injured as he was."
Newton was arrested and taken to the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison where she is being held on a $50,000 bond. She is also a fugitive from Baker Police. Joseph was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison where she is being held on a $35,000 bond.
Hayes and her neighbors called the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, but even after the arrests they still worry about the boy's future.
"Put him with a family that would love him and treat him like a nine year old. Don't stick him back with her," Hayes said.