BARSTOW, Calif. (KABC) -- A Barstow couple is facing murder charges in the death of their 6-year-old son following a series of injuries he received at home over a period of time, police said Tuesday.
Investigators say the boy had substantial injuries all around his body "that were deemed suspicious and indicative of trauma." They had been caused over a period of time, as evidenced by various stages of healing.
"The investigation revealed the child was under the care of the parents at the time of these injuries," said Barstow Capt. Chris Kirby. "And the parents failed to take any reasonable steps to have the child treated for these injuries."
The investigation began when Barstow police were called to a home in the 900 block of Carson Street around 5:10 p.m. on Sept. 14 for a report of a child not breathing.
Paramedics and police responded to the home and the boy - later identified as Ayden - was transported to a local hospital to undergo emergency surgery.
Barstow police detectives spoke to the boy's mother, identified as Carolyne Beaver, 35, and his stepfather, Quinten Ross, 35.
They determined that the child had been subjected to "physical abuse and neglect" over a period of time while he was in the care of Beaver and Ross. They did not seek medical treatment for his injuries, police say.
Detectives obtained a warrant and searched the home to obtain additional evidence.
Beaver and Ross were arrested and booked for assault to a child under 8 years old resulting in comatose and child abuse. After the booking, detectives later learned the child had died. Court documents indicate both are now facing murder charges. Beaver is also facing a charge of torture.
A memorial of balloons, candles and stuffed animals now sits outside the home in tribute to Ayden.
Neighbors say they had seen the mother's boyfriend grow frustrated with the boy and beat him.
The boy attended Cameron Elementary School. The Barstow Unified School District notified parents and said counseling support would be made available.
The note to parents read in part: "It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that a student at Crestline/Cameron Elementary School has passed away. We are extremely saddened at this loss and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy, including any of you who may have known him."
Neighbors of the home and parents at the school were horrified by the allegations.
"He was a 6-year-old child," said Barstow resident Marsha Antunez. "My heart was torn when it happened, when I heard about it."