HOUSTON— A 7-year-old boy suffered horrific abuse at the hands of his father and stepmother for getting in trouble at school. His parents gave him black eyes and beat him in the head with high-heeled shoes as a form of punishment, according to the Houston Police Department.
The boy’s father, Christopher Burrell, and his stepmother, Savannah Johnson, were both charged with felony injury to a child.
School administrators called Children’s Protective Services on January 30 after the little boy showed up to school with a black eye and a large bruise on his head. The boy was taken by ambulance from his elementary school to Texas Children’s Hospital to be given an examination.
In addition to the black eye, doctors discovered the boy had a fractured arm and hand, a hematoma on his head and numerous lacerations from being whipped. The injuries, they said, were both old and new. Some of the bruises were scabbing and bleeding.
Investigators questioned the badly beaten child to find out what happened to him. The boy, who they said was clearly able to distinguish between the truth and a lie, said his father and stepmother beat him with their hands, a ruler, a belt and an extension cord because he got into trouble at school. His stepmom also hit him in the head with her high heels several times, the child said.
The boy told investigators he could not remember how many times he was beaten, because when he tried to think of it, it made his head hurt.
He said his dad hit him in the face, “whooped” him with the belt on his legs and arms, and also hit him with a ruler. His stepmother also took turns beating him.
A CPS investigator questioned the boy’s 6-year-old sister to see if she witnessed any of the abuse or suffered any of her own.
The little girl said she saw her mother hit her brother in the head with the high-heeled shoe several times before. The girl said her brother was the only one who “got hurt” because he would get in trouble at school. The girl said she was afraid of her father and only felt “a little safe” at home, investigators said.
She also described drugs she allegedly witnessed her parents using in the home.
During their interviews, both parents denied abusing the boy, saying their methods of punishment were merely discipline. The father said he only whipped his son with his work belt and nothing else.
The stepmother at first denied ever hitting the child, then admitted to hitting him in the head with the shoe twice, according to court documents.
Charges were then filed against the two.