UPDATE @ 4:45 p.m.
Middletown police Chief Rodney Muterspaw issued a statement today on the Middletown Division of Police Facebook page: “Tough day today for the Middletown police officers and fire medics who responded to the call at the motel Wednesday night, as one of the boys passed away this morning. Many prayers lifted up for these children today. Time for our community to come together as one to make sure these things dont happen again. Rest in peace little guy.
If you see something, say something. - Chief”
UPDATE @ 11:11 a.m.:
Middletown police have identified the 5-year-old boy who died from his injuries in an alleged beating as Alexander Stephens.
UPDATE @ 10:43 a.m.:
In the complaint filed by the Middletown Division of Police today, Detective John Hoover wrote that Theresa Hawkins-Stephens allegedly tied up her 5-year-old son for about 22 hours and he was “severely beaten” on his head and body during this time.
He died as a result of the assault, the complaint said.
This incident occurred in a wooded area off North Verity Parkway and Access 1 and Access 2 in Middletown, police said.
UPDATE @ 10:02 a.m.:
The charges against two women accused of beating two boys, 6 and 5 years old, were upgraded this morning after the 5-year-old died today.
Middletown Municipal Court Visiting Judge Greg Howard said the mother to the two boys, Theresa Hawkins-Stephens, 26, was charged with murder, two counts of felonious assault and two counts of endangering children as was Rachael Bostian, 29. He set their bond at $1 million and appointed them an attorney.
Charges remained the same against the third woman, Ramona Bostian, 56. Bond was set at $500,000 and she was appointed an attorney.
Preliminary hearing for all three women was set for 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 6 in Middletown Municipal Court.
UPDATE @ 9:38 a.m.
The 5-year-old boy passed away at approximately 8:02 a.m. today, according to a release from the Middletown Police Department.
The mother to the two boys, Theresa Hawkins-Stephens, 26, along with her friends, Rachael Bostian, 29, and Bostian’s mother, Ramona Bostian, 56 — all of Licking County, Ohio — were scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. today.
However, their charges are being amended and they will be arraigned later today, according to the release.
The three women were arrested Wednesday night and charged with two counts of felony child endangering and two counts of felonious assault.
UPDATE @ 8:49 a.m. (April 29):
Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw told this news agency this morning that the 5-year-old boy who was allegedly beaten has died. Police expect assault charges to be upgraded.
Three women are behind bars and two brothers are fighting for their lives after the children allegedly were beaten during a 22-hour rampage near the Great Miami River, Middletown police said.
Maj. Mark Hoffman, a 38-year veteran of the Middletown Division of Police, called the alleged abuse against the 5- and 6-year-old boys “horrific” and the worst he has seen in his career. He said Middletown firefighters, police officers and doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center were brought to tears after seeing the injuries.
Police and fire department chaplains were called to the scene to counsel the emotional officers and firefighters, he said.
The boys were wrapped in sheets, then allegedly beaten by the women after one of them took food, Hoffman said.
It was unclear whether the women used weapons on the boys, he said.
The mother to the two boys, Theresa Hawkins-Stephens, 26, along with her friends, Rachael Bostian, 29, and Bostian’s mother, Ramona Bostian, 56, were arrested Wednesday night and charged with two counts of felony child endangering and two counts of felonious assault.
They are scheduled to appear at 9 a.m. Friday in Middletown Municipal Court.
Middletown police received a 911 call around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday from a woman who identified herself as Rachael Bostian. She told the dispatcher that a 5-year-old boy was unresponsive in room 130 at the Parkway Inn on North Verity Parkway.
Paramedics arrived and started CPR, then police discovered another child, a 6-year-old boy, was in a bed, covered by blankets.
The 5-year-old was taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and his brother went to Cincinnati Children’s Liberty Campus in Liberty Twp. with “very severe” injuries, Hoffman said.
The beatings of the boys allegedly took place all day Tuesday and into Wednesday, he said.
In the 911 tape, Rachael Bostian said the 5-year-old “escaped the tent,” went missing for days, then was “messed up real bad” by three boys.
When he returned to the campsite, the women didn’t realize the extent of his injuries, she told the 911 dispatcher.
“We don’t believe that to be true,” Hoffman said of Bostian’s explanation.
Hoffman said the women, originally from Licking County, came to the Middletown area looking for work. After someone in Franklin told the women about a clearing in the woods by the river, they stayed there for several days, then were given a voucher by a Franklin social services agency to stay at Parkway Inn.
Hoffman said no drugs were found at the campsite or the hotel room.
The boys’ father contacted Middletown police Thursday morning after watching a TV report about the incident, Hoffman said.
Police do not believe the father was involved in the alleged beatings, he said.