Neighbors: Abused child had injuries before

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by Christine LaCroix

azfamily.com

Posted on May 31, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Updated Thursday, May 31 at 7:00 PM

PHOENIX-- Residents of the Bella Norte apartment complex in Phoenix say this is not the first time they have noticed injuries to a little girl who lives there.

That 4-year-old girl is currently in extremely critical condition after police say she was beaten and it was discovered that she had injuries “basically from head to foot,” according to Sgt. Tommy Thompson. of the Phoenix Police Department.

Ashley Buckman and her live in boyfriend James Edwards, both 22, were both arrested and booked on several counts each of child abuse and failure to protect a child.

Police believe this to be a case of ongoing abuse. Most recently, the child apparently soiled her bed and her mother beat and slapped her, which caused her to stop breathing.

When emergency crews arrived, they found the child unconscious.

Ashton Robinson, who lives two doors down from Buckman and Edwards watched as emergency crews broke down the door and Edwards came outside.

"I heard him really frantic, kind of emotional, but he was saying he had no idea what was going on," Robinson said. "He put the baby to sleep and next thing you know it wasn't breathing.”

Police back up that story. According to Thompson, Buckman and Edwards initially lied to police about what had happened to the little girl and then "began to minimize the effects" as officers learned the facts.

The 4-year-old had cuts and bruises, whip marks possibly made a coat hanger, and what appeared to be scald marks.

"Because of the nature of the marks, it appears the child was intentionally scalded with hot water in the bathtub," Thompson said.

Neighbors say this is not the first time they have seen this child with injuries.

"I did see her in a cast last year," said neighbor Thasha Mercer of the little girl.

Detectives are calling this case one of the most egregious cases of child abuse they have ever seen.

Buckman and Edwards have a 1-year-old child, who is now in the custody of Child Protective Services. Police say there are no apparent signs of child abuse involving the 1- year-old.

“They need to go to jail and have the same thing happen to them," Mercer said.

Neither Buckman nor Edwards gave a comment to 3TV as they were escorted by police to the Fourth Avenue Jail.

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