An Arkansas couple is in custody for multiple charges, including capital murder, after police say they discovered a savagely abused young girl and the decomposing corpse of her brother in the couple’s home.
At about 10:45 p.m. Friday night, special agents with the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division raided a home in Moro, Arkansas, a tiny town of just over 200 people about halfway in between Little Rock and Memphis. According to their report, the agents made two horrific discoveries in the home: the woman’s severely injured daughter and the decomposing body of the woman’s young son.
From their preliminary investigation, agents believe that the boy may have died perhaps as far back as three months ago. They also believe that the boy died from injuries he sustained from abuse, though the state medical examiner has not yet made an official determination about the cause of death, the report says.
Though alive, the boy’s sister appeared to have suffered terrible physical abuse as well. Reports indicate that her scalp was burned, she had several cracked ribs, and she appeared to be malnourished. Her hair had also been chopped off, and there were burns in various stages of healing elsewhere on her body as well, reports claim. The girl has received treatment at a Memphis hospital and is said to be in stable condition.
In connection to the alleged crimes, police have arrested the children’s mother, 28-year-old Ashley Roland, as well as 33-year-old Nathan Bridges, who is presumed to be Roland’s boyfriend. Both adults have been booked into the Lee County Jail and charged with capital murder, abuse of a corpse, tampering with physical evidence, and endangering the welfare of a minor.
Reports indicate that police may have been tipped off about a possibly dangerous situation in the home by the children’s grandmother, identified only as Karen. In a GoFundMe account created to raise money for funeral and medical expenses for the two children, family friend Anita Widby wrote that Karen had been trying to gain custody of the children for “over a year.” Last week, Karen was finally granted weekly visitation rights. When she showed up at the kids’ home on Friday, she was reportedly told that the boy was staying at a friend’s house and that the girl was unable to walk. Karen immediately took the girl for medical treatment. Karen learned later that evening that her grandson had been discovered under the hallway floorboards of the home.
“These injuries are presumed to be from her mother and the mother’s boyfriend,” Widby wrote.
There are conflicting reports about the children’s respective ages. The girl has been listed as either 6 or 7 years old, while the boy was either 5 or 6 at the time of his death.