Valeria Lynn Hamilton and Shane Robert Shelton, both 27-year-old parents of two young boys, were apprehended and accused of torturing and brutally abusing them, resulting in the death of one and severe injuries to the other.
The Detroit Police Department arrived at the scene at a residence on Spring Garden Street. They were responding to a 911 call. When they arrived, they found paramedics placing 5-year-old Ethan Belcher in an ambulance.
He was then brought to the hospital, where he passed away. Evidence was gathered to prove that Shelton and Hamilton had inflicted fatal physical abuse on Ethan and his 3-year-old brother, whose identity was not made public.
According to CBS Detroit, Shelton is the stepfather of Ethan while Hamilton is his biological mother. Worthy, Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney, stated that the facts of the case were “extremely alarming.”
At the arraignment of the couple, Wayne County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Makepeace informed the court that Ethan had loop-shaped abrasions all over his body and thus had been beaten with a cord-like object.
He also revealed that the child had gangrene in his toes and that other children in the house stated that Shelton and Hamilton would routinely beat Ethan and his brother and even keep them locked in a basement filled with feces and sewage.
As reported by Law and Crime, Makepeace went on to display damning text messages between the two. Shelton allegedly said to “beat the dog (expletive) out of that (expletive),” possibly referring to one of the boys, and Hamilton wrote about “slamming their kids so hard their heads will pop off.”
Ethan’s aunt Ashley Belcher told Fox2 that she had informed Child Protective Services about the abuse last year, but the boys remained with their parents even following the investigation.
She told the outlet, “This baby suffered some very severe abuse through his life, and I tried to report it last year. I had pictures. I took them to the hospital myself.”
She also reported that Ethan “had over 100 cigarette burns on his body.” She told WDIV-TV “He has over 100 cigarette burns on his body, he had frostbitten feet, and he was missing a toe that never was taken care of,” Belcher shared.
Valeria Lynn Hamilton and Shane Robert Shelton have been charged. They are facing murder, child abuse, and torture charges in the death of their son Ethan.