CAROLINE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A 7-year-old is in critical care and two people have been arrested in connection with what Caroline County Sheriff Tony Lippa is calling one of the worst cases of child abuse he’s seen in his law enforcement career.
Authorities say Ashley Kamar, 29, and her 40-year-old boyfriend, Edward Prince Childs, were arrested Tuesday afternoon after deputies responded to a home on Mudville Road for reports of an injured child.
Sheriff Lippa said the boy was covered in bruises, cuts, scratches and other open wounds.
“It’s the worst I’ve seen in 43 years,” Lippa said.
Sheriff Lippa didn’t offer extensive details surrounding the case because of the ongoing investigation, but said it appeared the boy had at times been restrained, which led to the abduction charges for both suspects.
The pair has been charged with abduction, aggravated malicious wounding, abuse, neglect, failure to secure aid and cruelty to a child. They’re being held without bond at Pamunkey Regional Jail.
8News spoke with an official at ChildSavers, an organization that responds to issues involving children in the Commonwealth, on Wednesday.
“It’s difficult to say the prevalence of child abuse, child neglect and trauma in terms of kids because it’s so little reporting,” Bob Nickles, a program supervisor with ChildSavers, said.
Nickles says it takes a lot for children in these types of scenarios to open up.
“When a kid approaches an adult, from a kid’s perspective,” he said, “a lot of times they’re thinking ‘is this going to upset the adult, is the adult going to treat me like an interruption, is the adult going to take me seriously.'”
Nickles says the community can play an important role in spotting signs of abuse, such as detecting changes in behavior from the child or changes within the family that appear harmful.
“Anytime an adult takes time out and stops and listens to that child is deeply empowering and can really be a pivotal moment for any of our kids,” Nickles told 8News.
The 7-year-old boy was still said to be in critical care on Wednesday.
Stay with 8News for updates.