As his mother watched, a 3-year-old Nevada boy was allegedly doused with water heated on the stove by the woman’s boyfriend because the child was “acting disrespectful” and “wouldn’t listen,” according to an arrest report in the boy’s death investigation.
Smith and her 41-year-old boyfriend, Joshua Oxford, were arrested and charged with murder and child abuse after authorities recovered the child’s body in a remote area near Lake Mead National Recreation Area on Sept. 3.
A day earlier, Smith had reported her son missing from a public park after claiming that he’d wandered off while she was on her cell phone.
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Police became skeptical of that account when they could find no other witnesses to corroborate seeing the woman and her son together at the park, Las Vegas Metro Police Homicide Lt. Ray Spencer told reporters at a news conference.
Spencer said authorities believe Daniel may have been dead at least 12 hours before he was reported missing.
According to Smith’s arrest report, she and Oxford allegedly made Daniel stand in a corner of their studio apartment on Sept. 1 because he was “acting disrespectful” toward them, she told police.
Smith said Oxford struck the child “over and over again,” and she watched as the man poured water over Daniel, the report alleges.
But when Daniel “still wouldn’t listen,” Oxford placed water on the stove to heat it before dousing the boy with the hot water, says the report.
“[Daniel] said ‘ow’ and asked for his mother, who was watching, but did nothing,” the report alleges.
Another person who was at the apartment, Oxford’s mother Kathy Evans, told police that she advised her son to stop hitting Daniel, and then she allowed the boy to lie down after the couple left for about 45 minutes to run errands, according to the report.
When Oxford returned, however, he told the child to go back into the corner and hit him again, Evans alleged to police.
After Smith discovered her son dead the next morning, the arrest report alleges the couple placed his body in a plastic tub and drove to the remote location where Smith eventually led investigators to her son’s remains.
The medical examiner has not released an official cause of death, but an autopsy revealed that Daniel had several broken ribs and a subdural hemorrhage, with bruises, abrasions and blunt force injuries.
According to Smith’s arrest report, “Joshua [Oxford] was adamant this was both of their fault.”
Daniel’s 2-year-old sibling was turned over to Child Protective Services, police said.
A cousin of Smith’s, Crystal Kahles, said Smith allegedly took poor care of her two children, making them live in “filth” and sleep alongside roaches. “She just wasn’t deserving of those kids,” she said.
“They were so full of love and energy and laughter,” Kahles told local TV news station KVVU. “And they were just innocent little babies. Daniel, he didn’t deserve this. He deserved a mother who was going to protect him.”
Attorneys who might speak for the couple were not immediately identified.