The mother of an abused special needs child has been arrested after it was revealed that she was involved in the boy’s brutal beatings. The Herald Mail Media reports that 25-year-old Ashley Renee Barnhart has been charged with eight various counts of first-degree child abuse, child neglect, and first-degree assault. Meanwhile, her abused son is currently in a rehabilitation facility with an assortment of injuries.
Reports indicate that 6-year-old Dustin Barnhart suffered brain injuries, along with numerous bruises and other serious injuries. He is expected to do a “long stint” in the D.C. Children’s National Medical Center. The child endured violent abuse at the hands of Ashley’s boyfriend over a course of at least two months. Authorities arrested 21-year-old Aaron Vanmeter, who is being held on $1 million bond. However, authorities have confirmed that Ashley Renee Barnhart was involved in the abuse of her special-needs son, along with an attempted cover-up of his injuries.
State Attorney Sarah Mollett-Gaumer gave comments about the severity of this case, and the mother’s involvement in her son’s abuse.
“This is a case that stems not from a single incident.”
The State Attorney also alleges that the 21-year-old boyfriend “took out his frustrations” on the 6-year-old child because he was special needs, and he had a hard time putting up with the child’s differences. Aaron Vanmeter reportedly wore steel-toed boots while he kicked and beat little Dustin Barnhart. This was just days before he assaulted the child to the point of rendering him unconscious. On July 2 of this year, authorities were alerted after the child was examined. Barnhart told officials that the child had fallen down the steps of her front porch. The child had at least 85 different abrasions on his body, along with the other serious injuries he suffered. It had become immediately apparent that he was the victim of child abuse.
Authorities also say that the mother of the abused special-needs child told them that she was also being abused by her 21-year-old boyfriend. However, police have alleged that her claims were “specious,” meaning they were not convincing or believable. Her alleged involvement in the abuse of her child was revealed by photographic evidence. To clarify, the woman had taken photos of her child’s bruises in between photos of herself buying a bathing suit. She had also performed Google searches on how to get rid of bruises in an apparent attempt at covering up the abuse of her 6-year-old son.
This is, sadly, not the only case of child abuse in recent headlines. The Inquisitr reported earlier this year that a North Carolina boy was chained to a porch with a dead chicken around his neck. Come to find out, his adoptive mother and her boyfriend were the alleged perpetrators of the horrifying neglect and abuse. Also this year, KFOR News Channel 4 reported that an Oklahoma City couple were charged with murder 10 whole years after an incident that left their son with significant brain injuries. The delay in charges came because the child survived for 10 years after he was abused brutally as an infant.
[Photo: Washington County Police mugshot]