Father, Girlfriend Arrested After 5-Year-Old Boy Found With 'Severe' Injuries

Father, Girlfriend Arrested After 5-Year-Old Boy Found With 'Severe' Injuries

Father, Girlfriend Arrested After 5-Year-Old Boy Found With 'Severe' Injuries

A Navy sailor and his girlfriend have been arrested on suspicion of child abuse and torture after his malnourished 5-year-old son was found gravely injured in their Southern California home.

Conrad described living conditions at the Whitten property as "extremely unsanitary", noting that 11 dogs, four cats and two fish were impounded by animal control officers. The child's biological father, 33-year-old Benjamin Whitten, and his live-in girlfriend, 25-year-old Jeryn Johnson, were questioned.

Mr. Whitten and Ms. Johnson were placed under arrest for child abuse causing great bodily injury.

Police said the incident was "an apparent case of child abuse" but did not specify what type of injuries the child suffered.

As of noon Wednesday, the unidentified boy was listed in grave condition.

The Riverside County District Attorney's Office has been called in to help with the investigation "due to the severity of the injuries sustained by the juvenile", the release stated.

Based on the information gathered from the interviews and evidence obtained after the warrant was served, investigators determined Whitten and Johnson were responsible for the child's "dire condition", police said. "They brought out the little boy on the stretcher and they were trying to get him to breathe".

"They were pumping on his chest and (had) an IV hooked up", said neighbor Amy Mitchell. "I'm really shocked. Having known (Johnson) a little bit". Residents in the area also said the couple mostly kept to themselves. Another neighbor who did not want to be identified said in the year and a half since the couple moved in, she rarely saw the little boy.

Both Whitten and Johnson are due to appear in court at 8 a.m. Thursday, county inmate records indicate.

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