Baby Dies On First Birthday With 89 Injuries After He Was Tortured By Mother & Her Boyfriend

Baby Dies On First Birthday With 89 Injuries After He Was Tortured By Mother & Her Boyfriend

TW: Child Abuse When the unconscious baby was taken to the hospital, the couple said he had drowned in the bathtub. An autopsy revealed that the baby had suffered multiple injuries to his body!

On the day he was supposed to turn one year old, a baby boy sustained horrific sexual abuse which was inflicted upon him by his mother and her boyfriend. According to Daily Mail, the boy died 'in horror and pain' on his first birthday, prosecutors said. When Hoss Wayne Benham was taken to the hospital and the doctors found that he had 89 injuries across his body when he was taken to a hospital in Cullman, Alabama. According to the police, his mother, Crystal Ballenger, and her boyfriend, Jeffrey Hugh Brown initially claimed that baby Benham had died in the bathtub at their trailer when they took the unresponsive baby to the hospital. 


But, when the doctors performed an autopsy after his death, they found that Benham had 38 injuries on his head and neck sustained by blunt-force trauma. He had four injuries on each of his eyes, 19 on his arms and legs, six on his torso and seven on his genitals as well as seven burns to the right foot and four burns to the left foot. Police statements also revealed that the boy's skull had sustained fractures, and it was even in the court documents sustained by local media. 


Prosecutors state the injuries symbolize Benham suffered both physical and sexual torture at the hands of his mother and Brown. After the autopsy report - which showed that the baby suffered from 89 injuries, including 38 injuries to the head and neck- was released, Cullman County District Attorney Wilson Blaylock sought the death penalty. "'It's really unbelievable and just hard to read what happened to this infant child. His last 36 hours were spent in horror and pain," he said at the time of the couple's indictment.


Benham died on March 11, 2014, the same day he would have turned a year old. His mother and her partner were indicted on capital murder charges in 2015. Charges detailed in the courtroom documents show that the pair were charged with aggravated child abuse, sexual torture/abuse, and capital murder, according to Cullman Today. The trial was set to start this month, but  Brown's attorney requested a continuance and the hearing was postponed to an unspecified date by Cullman County Circuit Court.


Police reports also showed that Ballenger, 27, and Brown, 41, also tested positive for methamphetamine and other drugs after Benham's death. A woman who said she was the boy's great grandmother wrote in an online tribute: He was my first great-grandson and I miss him every single day and he is always on my mind. I look to heaven every night and tell him goodnight, because I know he is in heaven and he watches over us all. I Love You and miss you and I miss that beautiful smile that was always on your face. From your great nana.


Investigators as well stated in the court documents that the bruising and the skull fractures indicate signs of abuse. The statement by Bethany Shaddrix, who was the arresting deputy, stated Ballenger claimed Brown was trying to teach her son how to swim in the bath and how to hold his breath by holding him under the water for 20 to 25 second.  The statement read: Crystal stated on the night of March 11, Jeff was giving Hoss a bath and she walked into the bathroom and witnessed Jeff holding Hoss underwater for 20-25 seconds.


Jeff told Crystal he was teaching Hoss how to float and that he could hold his breath. Crystal stated Jeff allegedly tried to perform CPR because she didn't know how to perform CPR. Captain Jon Montgomery, Cullman County Sheriff's Office investigator said the couple initially said the baby had  "accidentally drowned in a bathtub." Ballenger also told investigators she witnessed Brown giving her son Tabasco sauce as punishment to make him stop crying and that she would give the baby cough medicine because he was cutting teeth, according to the documents. 


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