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Brutalized boy rescued

A boyfriend beat and burned the 12-year-old with the mother's complicity, police say.

By ABHI RAGHUNATHAN and CASEY CORA, Times Staff Writer
Published September 29, 2007


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PINELLAS PARK - Blood dripped from a huge wound on the 12-year-old boy's head, and his feet were scraped.

Edwin Cook, who saw the boy in the lobby of the Freedom Village subsidized housing complex, called police.

Officers found the boy lying in his own feces and dried blood on the linoleum floor of an apartment unit Thursday. He had a fractured skull, broken nose and burns on his arm, which had been broken. Police arrested his mother and her live-in boyfriend.

"I knew something was wrong," said Cook. "But I didn't think it would be this bad."

Police say the boy was burned and beaten by his mother's boyfriend, with the mother's complicity. Reginald Carr, 42, broke the boy's arm and bashed him in the head with an aerosol can, cracking his skull, police said.

When the boy refused to wash his hands with soap and water, Carr held the boy's arm on top of a coiled hot top burner for four seconds, according to police.

Carr faces four counts of aggravated child abuse. Drenda Patrick, 43, faces four counts of child neglect.

Carr has been arrested before on charges of fraud and having insufficient funds.

The boy and his mother moved from Alabama into the apartment about nine months ago after meeting Carr, police said. Lt. Paul Andrews said that police think the abuse has been ongoing because of other scars on the boy.

In addition to brutalizing the boy, Carr and Patrick also kept him locked in a room with no furniture except for a plastic bucket to be used as a toilet, police said. Carr whipped him with an extension cord and beat him regularly with his fists, the boy told police

"They had an ironing board propped against the door, so if he opened the door, they would hear it," Andrews said.

Carr is blind, according to Capt. Michael Hayworth. He calls himself "Bishop," though it is unclear if he is affiliated with any church.

Freedom Village is owned by Goodwill Industries. About 100 people - who are mostly disabled, elderly or unable to afford another apartment - live in the complex at 7700 66th St. N.

For about a month last year, the boy was enrolled in Skyview Elementary, Hayworth said. His teachers told police the boy was friendly and engaged in his studies, but his mother and Carr eventually withdrew him, saying they were going to homeschool him. School officials say they didn't notice any abuse at the time.

The boy was recovering at a hospital Friday, and officials will determine where to place him after his release.

Hayworth said the boy received little education. As he sat in a locked room, he had only one book: the Bible

Times researcher Angie Drobnic Holan contributed to this report. Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at araghunathan@sptimes.com or 727 893-8472.

[Last modified September 28, 2007, 22:57:41]


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