A 6-year-old boy is on the verge of death after a severe beating by his parents, Phoenix police say.
The parents, Benny Gibson, 49 and Jennifer Paul, 37, were arrested in connection with possible child abuse charges.
Police and paramedics raced to the home near 7100 North 19th Avenue just after 1 a.m. on Monday following reports of a hurt child. When they went inside, they found the little boy, Jacob Gibson, not breathing and racked with convulsions.
Doctors operated on the boy after he was taken to Phoenix Children's Hospital, but he remains in "extremely" critical condition "with massive brain swelling," according to a statement by police.
Marks and bruises on Jacob show he suffered a particularly brutal beating.
"The child has extensive bruising to his chest, legs, sides and back that included some imprint markings that appeared to have been caused by a belt buckle and possibly a wire hanger," police say in a write-up of the incident. "Investigators are alleging that at some point the victim's head was shoved against a bedroom door."
The child isn't expected to survive, police say.
Gibson and Paul gave conflicting answers to officers when they were interrogated about the boy's injuries.
Paul told an officer that Jacob had been beaten up by a 6-year-old cousin and that he hadn't been feeling well the day before, police wrote in court records. She also told police that the boy had been out playing soccer with some friends, complaining of a headache when he returned home.
The father, meanwhile, told police that his son had tried taking the dog for a walk a few days ago and ended up getting dragged down a flight of stairs, striking his head. On Monday, Gibson claimed, he watched as Jacob suddenly passed out and fell to the floor.
A day after Jacob was hospitalized, Paul spilled to a cop that her husband would routinely beat the boy with a belt and buckle. She confessed that she hadn't done enough to protect her son, and that she'd sometimes participated in "spanking" the kid.
Paul said her husband also would frequently withhold food from the boy as a punishment.
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Gibson admitted to striking the boy with the belt buckle, but said it was Paul who hit Jacob in the head just before the boy had a seizure.
Child Protective Services had had an open case on the family since 2005, it turned out.
Jacob had been taken from the couple when he was just four days old. Another child, Velladine, was taken by CPS about the same time. Both kids were given back to the parents when Valledine was a month old, court records state.
Court records note that neighbors of Gibson and Paul had previously called CPS and police on the family after noticing bumps and bruises on Jacob.