WILLOW GROVE, Pa. (WTXF) - A Montgomery County mother and her boyfriend have been charged in the death of her 4-year-old little boy, according to authorities.
Sadness hung over the 1800 block of Lukens Avenue in Willow Grove Tuesday night as a neighborhood came to grips with the death of 4-year-old Tahjir Smith and the arrest of his mother and her boyfriend.
Investigators say 19-year-old Lisa Smith and 26-year-old Keiff King stand charged for now with attempted murder, aggravated assault and other crimes in the beating death of little Tahjir after he spilled his breakfast cereal at their home, which police described as deplorable and crawling with roaches.
"Severely punished and beaten and then burned in a shower," Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said.
Investigators say King and Smith disciplined the child after the cereal incident and made him lay down on a bed. Authorities say his clothes were removed and the child was punched and struck repeatedly with a sandal after Smith claimed the boy was "sneaky." Imprints were found on the child's body, according to investigators.
When the child stopped breathing, police say, King and Smith dressed him and took him outside where they concocted a story saying he had passed out after coming back from the stores with Smith. Investigators say the coroner also found old injuries, including rib fractures on Tahjir's.
"Unfortunately, it looks like the child didn't go through this the first time last night," Steele added. "It's gonna be our time to stand up for a child who can't speak for himself anymore."
The DA says charges could be upgraded to murder once the final autopsy results come back. Smith and King are behind bars on $500,000 bail each. They have a preliminary hearing set for January 31st.
Lisa Smith is also eight months pregnant with another child.