A 12-year-old boy’s dad called to report that he had drowned in a bathtub. That same night the boy died and the dad was arrested by police who believe he may have been beaten to death.
But investigators have yet to confirm how the boy died and if his own father had killed him. What they have allegedly confirmed is that the 12-year-old had been repeatedly abused.
The investigation began shortly before 10 p.m. Friday after officers responded to a home at 181 North Springs Drive in Acworth regarding a reported drowning, according to the Paulding County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies and paramedics found the boy unconscious. He was transported to Paulding Wellstar Hospital where he was later pronounced dead, the sheriff's spokesman Cpl. Ashley Henson said.
But then officials found signs of long-term abuse on the boy’s body.
“The male juvenile, who had multiple bruises, bite marks, lacerations, and other marks that are consistent with physical abuse, appeared to have endured abuse for quite some time,” Cpl. Henson said.
Deputies working with agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation interviewed, arrested and charged Mr. Shayaa Yusef Forbes that same evening with felony child cruelty, the corporal said.
The autopsy on the boy was performed by the GBI Crime Lab in Atlanta over the weekend, but detectives are still waiting on the results to determine what other charges the 32-year-old dad should face.
Police declined to release the child’s name, but neighbors and friends identified the boy as Eric Forbes, a sixth grader at McClure Middle School in Dallas, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Ms. Tiffany Mathna told the AJC that her daughter and Eric were classmates and friends.
“Everybody’s in shock,” Ms. Mathna said Monday night. “You don’t think expect it in your backyard.”
Eric Forbes was a normal kid who made good grades and played football, she said.
The boy’s younger sister, who also lived in the home, has been placed in the custody of the Department of Family and Children Services. Police are still investigating to determine if she has been abused.
Deputies on Monday said they did not know the location of the mother and that only the dad and the two children lived in the home.
Anyone with information that would assist in the investigation, is asked to contact the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office Crimes Against Children Division at (770) 445-6105.
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