An infant died on his first birthday after his mother and her boyfriend sexually tortured him.
Little Hoss Wayne Benham was found to have sustained around 89 injuries on his body. The injuries were discovered when he was taken to a hospital in Cullman, Alabama.
According to the police report, the boy's mother, Crystal Ballenger, and her boyfriend, Jeffrey Hugh Brown, lied that the infant died in a bathtub in the trailer. But after an autopsy was performed, the test revealed the boy had 38 injuries on his neck and head, caused by blunt-force trauma.
Benham also had four injuries on each of his eyes, six on the torso. Add 19 on the arms and legs and seven on the genitals. The doctors also discovered seven burns on the boy's right foot and four on the left foot.
A court document quoted by local media also revealed that the boy's skull had fractures.
During a court hearing, the mother and her lover were charged with capital murder. Prosecutors said that the injuries on the boy's body were sufficient evidence that he suffered physical and sexual torture at his mother and the boyfriend's hands.
Cullman County District Attorney Wilson Blaylock sought the death penalty after releasing the autopsy report. At the time of the couple's indictment, he said:
"It's really unbelievable and just hard to read what happened to this infant child. His last 36 hours were spent in horror and pain."
Cullman Today reported that charges detailed in court documents showed the pair were charged with aggravated child abuse, sexual torture, and capital murder.
Police also said Ballenger, 27-year-old, and Brown, 41-year-old, tested positive for methamphetamine and other drugs after the boy's death.
A statement by the arresting deputy, Bethany Shaddrix, stated Ballenger claimed Brown was trying to teach her son how to swim in the bathtub by holding him underwater for '20 to 25 second.' That's when Benham lost his life.
But investigators stated in court documents the bruising and skull fracture on the boy indicated signs of abuse.
A woman who claimed to be the boy's grandmother expressed her grief on an online attribute, saying:
"He was my first great-grandson, and I miss him every single day, and he is always on my mind."
"I look to heaven every night and tell him goodnight. I know he is in heaven, and he watches over us all."
"I Love You and miss you, and I miss that beautiful smile that was always on your face. From your great nana."