Deputies say dad nearly killed son in beating

Deputies say a father nearly killed his son in a beating.

SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. (WUSA9) -- A 9-year-old boy in Spotsylvania County is fighting for his life after county authorities say his dad nearly killed his son in a beating. 

Court documents obtained say Elijah was “deceased when brought to the hospital [on Wednesday] and was revived after 45 minutes of CPR.”, a Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson told WUSA9. The boy was expected to undergo surgery during the day.

The child’s father, 37-year-old Thomas Jennings Jr., is charged with malicious wounding and felony child abuse of his 9-year-old son.

Investigators say Elijah lives with his father at their Spotsylvania home, but neighbors tell WUSA 9 they hardly saw him what they described as a kid-friendly area.

“The only sign that I could even tell was that the little boy was never outside. Unless he was going from the house to the car or the house to the trash can,” said Deana Bunch. Another neighbor, Don Elliott said he didn’t even think the child lived at the home.

“When I did see him, it was weekends,” Elliott said.

On May 18, investigators say the sheriff’s office was contacted by Mary Washington Hospital’s Emergency Room advising a 9-year-old was brought in unresponsive with severe markings on his back that appeared to be from “an extension cord or belt.” Elijah was flown to VCU Hospital in Richmond where was revived and continues to be treated.

An Affidavit obtained says when interviewed, Jennings admitted that on Sunday, May 15, “he made the child lay face down on the bed, with only underwear on, and struck the child’s back and side with a brown leather belt.”

Court Documents said doctors at the hospital found bruising on Elijah’s body and a ruptured spleen. Those documents also say investigators found a brown leather belt, an electrical cord and a broken belt in and on the door-knob of the 9-year-old’s bedroom after executing a search warrant. According to investigators, Jennings admitted to hitting the child in the past with an extension cord.

Sheriff's deputies say Jennings was investigated in 2015 for Physical Abuse and that Elijah appeared to have scars from previous beatings, but did not provide additional details.

The mother of the 9-year-old told detectives she only had visitation with Elijah and that he was fearful of returning home last week, according to the Affidavit.

Just before 4 p.m. a spokesperson with VCU Hospital in Richmond said Elijah was in good condition.

A Commonwealth's Attorney tells WUSA9 Jennings has been arraigned on charges and is due in court again on July 6. No one answered at the Spotsylvania home and no other family members could be reached on Wednesday.


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