Prosecutor: Group of adults beat, burned 3-year-old for wetting himself

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A group of adults accused of brutally abusing a 3-year-old boy faced an Essex County judge Tuesday afternoon.

Prosecutors say that Newark mother Natasha Smith enlisted the help of her five housemates to beat and pour scalding water on her young son in the home they shared on Bergen Street.

Authorities say that the boy was repeatedly beaten with a belt and burned over a several-month period as punishment for wetting himself. Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen Lyons also says that Smith at least once burned her son with a cigarette.

Facing charges along with Smith are her former boyfriend Homer Searcy, 55-year-old Mary Buchan, 28-year-old Patricia Buchan and 23-year-old Bridget Buchan. The six adults were arrested earlier this month after a day care worker noticed the injuries on the boy and informed police.

Authorities say that four other children belonging to defendant Patricia Buchan also lived in the home. Prosecutors say that several of the children told investigators that they were also told to beat the 3-year-old. 

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

Patricia Buchan burst into tears when she was the only defendant released on home detention. The 28-year-old is pregnant with her fifth child and needs medical attention. The other defendants including Buchan’s mother and sister were ordered to remain in jail until the outcome of the case.

Each defendant is charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

A sixth defendant, 62-year-old Patricia Gamarra, is expected in court later this week.

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