Couple arrested on child abuse charges

LITTLE ROCK, AR – A 2-year-old boy burned, beaten, and bruised is removed from his home by Little Rock Police, and the mother and her boyfriend are in jail.

Little Rock Police got a tip to do a welfare check on 2-year-old Tristin Bray from Alma Police, who got a tip from a housing assistance service, who saw the boy with his mother looking malnourished with a possible broken arm and burns on his face.

When Little Rock Police arrived at the home Wednesday night, they found Tristin Bray in his bed suffering from life-threatening injuries.

Hermean Patterson lives next door and says the family has only been living there a week or two and she had no idea what was going on behind closed doors. “It’s terrible. I don’t see how an adult anybody could hurt a child. Both of them need to be in jail for the rest of their lives. They don’t ever need to get out.”

Police arrest 23-year-old Tiffany Bray and her boyfriend, 34-year-old Ronnie Lee Canada Jr. Lt. Terry Hastings says the toddler had been burned and had numerous cuts and bruises all over his body. “We see bad things all the time, but a situation like this really pulls at your heart strings. For our officers to see a child who has been put in this situation is difficult.”

Police say Tristin was taken to Arkansas Children’s Hospital where doctors examined the boy and reported to investigators he is suffering from a brain bleed, hemorrhages in his eyes that may cause blindness, a broken arm, and numerous other injuries.

Lt. Hastings says the injuries to the child are obviously those that had gone on for a long period of time.

Bray is charged with permitting abuse of a minor and endangering the welfare of a minor. Canada is charged with first-degree battery and endangering the welfare of a minor.

Lt. Hastings says it appears the mother did not intervene on the child’s behalf.

Bond for both is set at $200,000.

Police say this isn’t the first time the couple has been involved in a child abuse case of Tristin Bray. The couple was investigated in February in Joplin, Missouri. No charges were filed at that time.

Child abuse pediatrician at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Karen Farst, says it is difficult to detect abuse in young children, but there are signs of abuse and risk factors people should watch out for. “Be aware of your surroundings and who you intersect who you might be coming into contact with who may be at risk.”

Lt. Hastings says that how this case came to light. “Thank goodness a person in Alma thought the child was abused and contacted authorities. It’s doubtful this child would have survived much longer in the condition the child is in.”

Police and child abuse prevention advocates say when it comes to children, it takes someone else stand up and speak for them, especially when they are too young to speak for themselves.

Farst says warning signs to watch for include malnutrition, domestic violence or substance abuse in the home, and bruises on children not from normal play activity.

To promote National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Friday, April 6th at 10am at the Museum of Discovery an event is being held to talk about ways to prevent child abuse.

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