Studies show living with an unrelated man severely increases a child’s chance of being abused.
This trend could be evidenced in a tragic case reported this week in one Houston household.
A 3-year-old boy suffering from malnourishment, burns and other physical injuries fell into a coma. His family was told the boy had been flown to Houston’s Memorial Hermann Hospital on Friday, according to the Houston Chronicle.
According to the Chronicle, Houston police allege the boy was abused by the boy’s mother’s boyfriend, though the boyfriend has not been charged. The Chronicle identified the boy as Nehemiah Torres.
The Chronicle’s Twitter post showed pictures provided by the boy’s family — one of Nehemiah healthy and smiling, one of him comatose in a hospital bed.
Houston 3-year-old in coma, mom accused of failing to prevent abuse by boyfriend, police say https://t.co/FjwR2IqRng
— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) February 2, 2023
Nehemiah’s mother, Jasmine Salas, is currently in jail for allegedly allowing the abuse, according to KTRK-TV.
Court documents reviewed by KTRK-TV show that Salas has been accused of failing to intervene on her son’s behalf or even seek help.
Furthermore, those documents reveal that the man alleged to be responsible is not Nehemiah’s biological father. The boyfriend is not identified by either the Chronicle or KTRK.
Salas’ other son, Nehemiah’s 5-year-old brother, was taken into custody by Child Protective Services. The boys’ family is unsure if the older brother has been abused like Nehemiah.
“They’re telling us we don’t know if the chances of the smiling baby, we may never see that again. And I just can’t imagine that,” Emma Schiefer, Nehemiah’s great aunt on his father’s side, told KTRK-TV.
According to Schiefer, Nehemiah’s physical injuries are so severe that the comatose 3-year-old is forced to wear a neck brace.
“To do that to a child, she deserves to stay where she’s at and never get out,” Schiefer said of Salas.
The family has hope that Nehemiah will recover. During a recent visit, the 3-year-old even opened his eyes, signifying he may be on the mend and slowly returning to consciousness.
According to a 2005 study published in Pediatrics, children living with unrelated adults are 50 times more likely to be killed than those who live with biological parents.
Most perpetrators men, according to the study.
In a 2019 interview with PhillyVoice, an online news outlet in Philadelphia, Eliana Gil, the clinical director of the national abuse-prevention group Childhelp, explained this disturbing fact.
“It comes down to the fact they don’t have a relationship established with these kids,” Gil said.
“Their primary interest is really the adult partner, and they may find themselves more irritated when there’s a problem with the children.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.