A young boy was allegedly starved and tortured to death by his step-mum in a horrific campaign of abuse, a court heard.
A police officer told the court in Idaho, US that nine-year-old Emrik Osuna was found covered in bruises, including trauma which looked as though someone had left a ‘tightened rubber band’ around his penis, KTVB reported.
Erik and Monique Osuna appeared in court on Wednesday charged with first-degree murder charge for Emrik’s death in September last year.
Paramedics found Emrik, not breathing with vomit crusted in his hair and around his face at his parents’ home in Meridian, Idaho.
Meridian Police Officer Scott Frazier told the court that on first impressions he thought Emrik had been suffering from a serious long-term illness.
Mr Frazier said: “He was very emaciated, he appeared ill, his eyes were sunk into his head. He was pale.”
Ada County Paramedic Jana Reed told the court that Emrik was wearing a nappy and asked his parents why, Daily Mail reports.
Ms Reed said: “I was told ‘he kept wetting himself so I put a diaper on him’.”
Paramedics got Emrik’s heart beating again after about 20 minutes only for him to later die at the paediatric ICU at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in downtown Boise, weighing just 3st 14lbs or 20kg.
Joseph Miller, a detective with Meridian Police, testified that Monique Osuna initially claimed that Emrik got injured ‘playing rough’ with neighbourhood boys who she allegedly claimed had hit him with a dog lead.
Osuna later admitted that she had been violently abusing her stepson since the beginning of 2020, following the birth of her daughter, according to Miller.
Osuna allegedly confessed to Miller that beatings included whipping Emrick with: a belt, leash, backscratcher, wooden spoon, and frying pan.
She would also kick him in the crotch and beat him with the pan “every other day” for months, Miller testified.
Miller added that Osuna also allegedly forced Emrik to sleep in the hall cupboard without bedding and blocked him in with chairs, because he had threatened her other children.
Prosecutor John Dinger asked Miller if Emrik had spent “his last night alive in the closet.”
“He did,” Miller responded, according to KTVB.
Osuna allegedly told Miller that she treated Emrik differently from her other three children who medical professionals said showed no signs of abuse.
Idaho Health and Welfare has taken the couple’s three other children, aged between nine and four months, into protective custody.
Prosecutor Tamara Kelly had said in court: “Due to COVID, she’s been working from home and since [Emrik] was not in school, she essentially had access to him all day long.”
Miller testified: “She said she was harder on him. She said she lashed out at him – hitting him with a pan and making him exercise while she worked, and that he only took a break when she took a break.”
The boy’s father has also been charged with first-degree murder as well as injury to a child and concealing evidence after he was allegedly aware of the abuse but failed to stop it.
A judge previously ordered the couple to be held on $2million (£1.7m) bond each and barred them from having contact with their remaining children.