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Officials: 6 charged with severely beating 3-year-old Newark boy

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NEWARK -

Authorities in Essex County say six adults have been charged with severely beating a 3-year-old boy.

Acting Prosecutor Theodore Stephens and Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose announced the arrests Wednesday. All six of the suspects live in the same house and police say they systematically beat the child using their fists and a belt. Prosecutors also say they poured scalding hot water on the boy as a form of punishment. 

The people facing charges include 62-year-old Patricia Gamarra, 55-year-old Mary Buchan, 28-year-old Patricia Buchan, 23-year-old Bridget Buchan, 39-year-old Homer “Omar” Searcy and the boy’s mother, 43-year-old Natacha Smith.

Officials say that the abuse happened inside an apartment on the 200 block of Clinton Street. They say that all six of the adults charged lived in the three-bedroom apartment, along with six children.

The alleged abuse was reported by the boy’s preschool teacher.

“They are trained to notice potential abuse and situations where the child appears to be acting in an aberrant or different sort of way,” Stephens said.

Workers at the Morning Star Food Pantry say that they recognize the six people who were arrested.

“They would come to the pantry and we would see them and sometimes they would bring the kids,” said Stephanie. “It’s just very hard to believe that someone would harm their own children or anyone in that fact.”

Officials said that the 3-year-old has been released from the hospital but did not give details on his condition. He and the other children who were in the home are with child protective services. Authorities say that there was no evidence that the other children were abused.

All six adults are being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark. They are scheduled to make their first court appearance on Thursday.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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