Rachel Bostian, one of three women charged with savagely beating 5-year-old Alexander Stephens to death during a 22-hour abuse and torture marathon — one of the accused women the little boy's own mom — pleaded guilty to murder and several other charges in an Ohio courtroom last Friday, according to a report in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
But what led Bostian, 29, and allegedly her 26-year-old friend and Alexander's mom Theresa Hawkins-Stephens as well, to tie the little boy up for what prosecutors say was 22 hours of suffering and pain that resulted in his death?
Rachel Bostian entered the pleas last week to charges of murder and endangering children https://t.co/49Ytp8d6cMThe charges allege that the women also tied and attacked Alexanders' 6-year-old brother Damyan, severely beating that child at the same time. But Damyan Stephens survived the horrifying assault by, police say, his own mother and her friend, according to reports in the Dayton Daily News. His injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
— Enquirer (@Enquirer) August 9, 2016
Police received a 911 call from a woman at about 8:30 p.m. on the night of April 26, a report by WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio, said. In the call, which came from The Parkway Inn — a local motel in Middletown, Ohio — the woman calling herself Rachel claimed that she and the children had been camping in nearby woods when the boys wandered off and were assaulted by a group of other kids.
Theresa Hawkins-Stephens, mom of 5 yr-old dead in Middletown motel pleads not guilty https://t.co/f5dPOd5uyB pic.twitter.com/FvYilxMVc1Both boys were also found to suffer from malnutrition.
— patrick reddy (@patrickreddynky) June 6, 2016
"After tying the boys up the (women) began punching and slapping the children in the face and about the body," according to court records quoted by The Journal-News newspaper. "The children were left tied up for over 24 hours and were given no food or water."The following TV news report gives further details on the case, from shortly after the arrests of the women.The women and two boys had traveled about 140 miles west from Licking County, Ohio, to get to Middletown where they planned to seek some sort of work, the Dayton Daily News reported. But at some point, the hungry boys took some food without permission from their mother, apparently enraging the women.
They tied the two boys with blankets and the beatings began, first inside their tent at the campsite, and later inside the motel room where Rachel Bostian later placed the 911 call, imprisoning the boys in the blankets for almost a full day, court documents say.
Paramedics rushed Alexander to nearby Atrium Medical Center, and later to Cincinnati Children's Hospital. But the little boy died there two days later.
Damyan was also transported to Cincinnati Children's Hospital where he was treated for his injuries.
But investigators simply didn't buy the women's tale of an attack by other children. They arrested Rachel Bostian and Theresa Hawkins-Stephens, charging them with murder, kidnapping, and multiple counts of felony child endangerment.
They also arrested the 56-year-old mother of Rachel Bostian, Ramona Bostian, and charged her with obstructing justice by giving false information to the police — though prosecutors say that she was not directly involved in the beating death of Alexander Stephens.
Last month, Ramona Bostian pleaded guilty to the obstruction charge and now faces up to 36 months behind bars, as detailed in the following video.Theresa Hawkins-Stephens has entered a not guilty plea and is scheduled to face trial in September. But she is set to appear in court this week as her lawyer tries to persuade a judge that the mom's rights were violated by arresting officers, who allegedly failed to properly inform the mom of her Miranda rights.
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Rachel Bostian, after her guilty plea last week in the murder of little Alexander Stephens, now faces between 26 years and life in prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced later in August.
[Images via Middletown Police Department]