A Virginia woman and her son are currently under investigation after a 4-year-old in the teen’s care died.
A 14-year-old boy called his mother, 35-year-old Catherine Louise Seals, to report that Larkin Carter Carr, a 4-year-old boy in the teen’s care, was unresponsive at their home in Norfolk, local station WAVY reported on Jan. 30.
Larkin was eventually taken to the Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters, the report said.
"I may go vomit," said a Norfolk judge upon review of the 4-year-old's death.
When he arrived, doctors said the child had a black eye and bruises all over his body, and he died in the hospital on the same day. The incident took place last year, but reports late last month said that the woman and teen are now under investigation.
An autopsy revealed that Larkin suffered from blunt-force trauma to the abdomen and head, said Norfolk prosecutor Jill Harris, adding that dozens of bruises covered his body.
Seals said she left the boy home alone with the 14-year-old, who was not named in reports. The teen later admitted to attacking the child in various ways, according to WAVY.
Harris said the child was sick for several days after the alleged attacks, but no one took him to the hospital, the report said.
Seals was charged with two counts of child abuse and neglect, and the teen was charged with strangulation. Neither face charges in Larkin’s death.
During a hearing last Wednesday, Judge Lauri D. Hogge denied Seals’ bond and was “speechless” after seeing photos of the child.
“I may go vomit,” Hogge said in court, WAVY reported.
Larkin and his 3-year-old brother, Tyler, were living with Seals and their father since July, the Springfield News-Sun reported.
Larkin’s mother, Tracey Quinones of Harrisonburg, said she noticed bruises covering her son during a visit months ago. She took photos and sent the information to the Norfolk Child Protective Services, adding that she isn’t sure if the agency followed up on the report.
“They’re supposed to protect your children from situations like this,” Quinones told the news outlet. “I feel like they failed my son and they failed his family.”
Assistant Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Jill Harris sustained “repeated beatings every other day” for months, according to the News-Sun.
Larkin’s aunt, Tosha Ann Wallace, said via Facebook that “(her) baby boy’s” account is finally being told.
“U didn’t deserve none of this. Your wings was ready but my heart was not,” Wallace said. “Can’t believe your (sic) gone, love u and miss u so much.”
Other details about the case are not clear.
One of The Nation’s Most Serious Concerns
According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, around 3.5 million children in 2016 were the subjects of at least one maltreatment report to authorities.
“Child abuse is one of the nation’s most serious concerns,” the authors of the report wrote. About 17 percent of those reports were substantiated, and the department said that there were an estimated 676,000 victims of child abuse and neglect.
That amounts to 9.1 victims per 1,000 children. Children in their first year of life had the highest rate of victimization at 24.8 per 1,000 children, the report said. About three-fourths of the cases were neglect, and about 18 percent were physical abuse.
Some children suffered from multiple forms of maltreatment, the HHS said.
The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is available at 1-800-422-4453 or at Childhelp.org.