Monday, October 18, 2021

Woman accused of murdering 10-year-old son

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Medical examiner says killer had dozens of stab wounds and wounds to his throat and upper body

A 47-year-old woman has been charged with murdering her 10-year-old son.

Anthony Wayne Bartlett died in hospital after the Friday night attack in Jonesboro, a small town in southeast Arkansas about 30 miles east of Little Rock. His mother was charged with capital murder on Saturday. She is being held in the Garland County jail on a $750,000 bond.

On Monday night, the coroner said Bartlett had dozens of stab wounds and injuries to his throat and upper body.

The complaint filed against Claudia Lynn Bartlett in District Court on Saturday said she admitted killing her son at the family’s home. It said a relative found the boy, who was cold and white and unresponsive, by the bathtub on Friday night. According to a probable cause affidavit signed by Jonesboro police detective Thomas Hobbs, the boy had a wound to his neck with a permanent scar and one that would be seen as penetrating.

He was taken to the hospital but died, the affidavit said. It said the boy’s injuries did not show they came from any weapon.

“The probable cause affidavit noted that a knife believed to be the weapon that was used was examined by the Arkansas State Police crime lab,” according to Faulkner County prosecutor Chris Stephens, who did not immediately return a call for comment.

The autopsy was completed on Saturday.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in February that Claudia Bartlett was charged with four counts of aggravated assault in connection with a February 9 incident in which she was accused of holding her 14-year-old son and his siblings at knifepoint for several hours.

The victim’s family described him in a statement released in February as a happy, bright boy who wanted to be a firefighter. It said he excelled in academics, athletics and other activities. The family said Bartlett had adopted the children through foster care and they had lived with her and her family for about a year.

Faulkner County Sheriff Jeff Curry said on Sunday that a roommate of the victim’s mother had contacted the sheriff’s office saying she had information that could help law enforcement. The neighbour, who is 24, was also a friend of the victim, according to Curry.

Curry said the woman told him she had been at a party where the woman remembered seeing Bartlett as she walked out. The neighbour told Curry that on Friday she and another roommate had helped Bartlett pick up a can of beans and hot dogs for dinner. The woman said she noticed Bartlett around 8pm but said she did not notice him behaving abnormally.

The woman said she left to go to sleep and when she woke up in the early hours of Saturday morning, Bartlett had disappeared. She said her friend had posted information about the missing child on Facebook.

Stephens told the Journal-Constitution that Bartlett’s killing was not believed to be random.

His cousin, Traci Stepek, 32, said Bartlett was an honour student who ran track and, despite being only 10, was considered “charming” and “intelligent”. He also excelled at his band, she said.

“He’s just a nice kid – he was something special. He always loved to be around other kids,” Stepek said.

Stepek was devastated when she learned of the killing, she said. “To know that you love someone and you will never see them again, that’s terrible.”

According to his obituary, Bartlett attended Walnut Grove elementary school, where his teacher described him as “that boy who had energy and told everyone to dance”. He continued to attend middle school and high school in Jonesboro.

“Troy cherished socialising with friends, sports and books. Sadly, Troy gave way to his inner demons and decided to follow in his mother’s footsteps,” the obituary said.

“Life at the top and the bottom of society is a lonely spot and Troy will never again sit in the paradise of big dreams and endless happiness. He died for no other reason than his inadequacy to his cherished love, his beloved mother.”

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