Police said a 12-year-old boy, James Alex Hurley, in Montana was found dead after physical abuse and forced exercises by grandparents and uncle accused of torturing him to death.
The grandparents and uncle of a 12-year-old boy in the state of Montana have been charged in connection with their grandparents, James Sasser Jr. and Patricia Batts, during the last two years of death after police said they found evidence that the child was tortured.
James Alex Hurley was found dead inside a living room he had been living with his grandparents and uncle for the past two years after his mother sent him to Montana to live with his father. James’s mother lives in Texas. James’s father died in 2018, so he ended up living with his grandparents and uncle, according to the complaint.
The report says that the couple’s children, including their 14-year-old son, who was James’s uncle, are being charged as minors in the case.
Police investigators told the court in their documents that the videos found by the police show a pattern of abuse that included forced exercise and physical abuse.
Detectives found videos about two years ago in which James “seemed to be a healthy and well-fed child,” according to court documents. At the time of his death, detectives said James “seemed emaciated,” according to the documents.
“I believe that torture and systematic beatings are perpetrated on the victim in this case that led to his death,” Bjorn Boyer, deputy county attorney for the Gallatin County Prosecutor’s Office, told CNN.
According to court documents, the three defendants have been charged with a charge of deliberate manslaughter.
A fourth person, Gage Roush, 18, was also arrested for serious assault on a minor. The court documents allege that Roush, a family friend, could be seen in a video of a cell phone hitting Hurley with a shovel.
Batts told detectives that he found James’s body on February 3 in the living room, according to the complaint.
James’s body was taken to the Montana State Crime Laboratory for an autopsy on February 4; He said his preliminary cause of death was blunt force trauma to the back of his head, according to the complaint. Toxicology reports are pending.
Detectives confiscated cell phones from uncle and grandparents and put together a timeline based on abuse videos dating from December 2019.
Cases of abuse included James being forced to exercise, jumps and squats on the wall, along with standing in front of a fan with no more clothes than his underwear, according to the complaint. The videos reviewed by the detectives also showed the suspects spraying James in the face with an unknown substance that burned and suffocated him, according to the complaint.
During the search of the house, detectives found that the food in the house was locked up, so James had no access to it, the complaint said.