Couple charged with child abuse

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  • Anderson

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    Bledsoe

  • Anderson

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    Bledsoe

COEUR d'ALENE — The parents of a 6-year-old boy, who police say was beaten, tied to his bed and stepped on, sending him to a Spokane hospital with life-threatening injuries, are behind bars facing felony child abuse charges.

Joy T. Anderson, 30, and Melvin W. Bledsoe, 47, of Post Falls were arrested last week after Bledsoe's 6-year-old son was admitted into Sacred Heart Medical Center for surgery. A health and welfare worker suspected the child had been abused and notified police.

According to a report, the child sustained a split pancreas, an injury usually requiring a great amount of force. Police said the parents had delayed seeking medical treatment for the injury, which likely caused the child a lot of pain, as well as bloating from fluids seeping into the boy's body cavity.

Anderson, who is the boy's stepmother, was charged with felony injury to a child and is in the Kootenai County Jail on a $50,000 bond. Bledsoe, who has a previous felony child abuse conviction, is charged with cruelty to children and is being held on a $200,000 bond.

Post Falls police investigators who documented the child's injuries reported the boy had scars and scabs on his right hip, buttock and thigh, as well as on his back along the spine. Several wounds appeared to be fresh or in the healing stages. Wounds included gouges and what appeared as cuts. Dried blood was reported on the child's penis, ulcers were reported on the boy's legs, a cut on the boy's eyebrow, and a cauliflower ear were also documented.

A Sacred Heart caregiver told police the boy is the victim of “serious and severe physical abuse and possibly long-term abuse and that this incident could have been lethal,” according to a police report.

The child was also undernourished, according to hospital personnel.

The boy was reportedly “spitting up or defecating fluff possibly from a pillow,” according to a police report.

Medical personnel attributed the pillow stuffing to the boy having eaten the pillow “because he was hungry.”

Parents told Det. John Mason that the boy is clumsy, falls down stairs, crashes his bicycle, and attributed the internal injury to the boy having fallen on a rock while at a Post Falls park.

Mason interviewed former neighbors at a Rathdrum trailer park who said that when they came to visit, the boy was often lying face down and tied to the bed with ropes around his wrists.

A neighbor told police, “(the boy) got treated like crap,” according to Mason's report. He told police that the boy was constantly yelled at and would sometimes cry, “making the most eerie scream you could hear.”

Bledsoe was convicted of felony injury to a child in 2012 and served two years probation after being sentenced to a four-year suspended prison sentence. His preliminary hearing — as well as Anderson's — is set for Nov. 9 in the magistrate arm of First District Court in Coeur d'Alene.

Based on witness accounts, police believe Anderson stood on the boy's abdomen, causing the injury to his pancreas. Anderson weighs 235 pounds compared to the child's 43 pounds, according to police.

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