WALTERBORO, SC (WCSC) - Deputies say a mother and her boyfriend Thursday night in the death of the woman's 4-year-old child.
Francesca Michelle Shuler 25, and Kasiem Rashawn Stephens 24, face charges of homicide by child abuse in the death of Shuler's child, Colleton County Sheriff's Lt. Tyger Benton said. Both were arrested at approximately 6 p.m. Thursday, he said.
Deputies say the arrests came approximately four-and-a-half hours after Shuler and Stephens took the child to the emergency room at Colleton County Medical Center.
The child was brought to the hospital at approximately 1:30 p.m. unconscious and unresponsive in cardiac arrest, Benton said. Medical Personnel administered medical aid but the child was pronounced dead.
According to arrest warrants,the four year old boy had several cuts and bruises over his entire body.
Investigators said evidence at the crime scene showed positive signs of child abuse.
Vernon Wade lives behind the suspects' trailer.
"Man, I was kind of scared and terrified," Wade said.
Wade found out about the boy's death from deputies.
"They come and talk to me and told me to pray for the family and everything and that's what me and my old lady did," Wade said.
"It was very, very, very shocking because I live in this neighborhood and I would never think anything would happen to a little kid at that age," said Theresa Daniels who also lives in the trailer park. "It's depressing, very depressing because I have a little four year old grandson."
The case was being investigated as suspicious at the time, Benton said.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Special Victims/Child Fatality Unit was notified and responded to assist in the investigation by the request of Sheriff R. A. Strickland.
Stephens and Shuler were denied bond Friday afternoon on the homicide by child abuse charge.
The judge also set a bond of $150,000 for each suspect on a charge of unlawful neglect on Shuler's six year old.
The coroner said the victim's name will be released after an autopsy is done on Saturday.