Laclede County man charged with child abuse; boy hospitalized with serious injuries

Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 4:16 PM CDT
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LEBANON, Mo. (KY3) - Laclede County authorities arrested a man accused of abusing his girlfriend’s child, leading to a list of serious injuries.

George Holmes faces a child abuse charge. He is in the Laclede County Jail.

Investigators say deputies responded to the home for a report of a disturbance on March 29. A family member called 911 after telling deputies she received a text claiming that Holmes had hurt the three-year-old boy. The home housed five other children.

Deputy found the child in a back bedroom lying on the bed motionless with the boy’s eyes closed. His left eye was swollen shut. He also had cuts to his head and throat. The deputies say they found him in an abnormal position. Investigators say the physician believed the boy was in a ‘small confined space, not allowed any movement.’ Doctors say the ‘boy would have died within a week if gone untreated.’

Investigators listed these injuries.

  • Severely anemic
  • Infected area below the chin
  • A pressure injury on his neck
  • A bed sore
  • Blood infection
  • Bone infection
  • Multiple arms and legs fractures
  • Bleeding on the brain
  • Lacerations likely caused by animals, including rats and mice
  • Left eye swollen shut/infected (doctors unsure if any permanent damage)

Deputies arrested the boy’s mother on a misdemeanor unrelated to the case. Investigators say she claimed Holmes moved into the home in October of 2022 when the boy’s injuries started. Investigators say she became suspicious of Holmes. However, his explanations seemed reasonable. Deputies say they found photos on several dates showing the boy’s injuries. Investigators say the boy’s mother told them the abuse worsened when Holmes lost his job on March 17. He worked at the public defender’s office. Investigators say she claimed he would not let anyone leave the home. The family did have food delivered in those two weeks.

The kids inside the home were homeschooled.

Investigators interviewed children living inside the home. Investigators say one child claimed Holmes rationed food and no one could eat without approval. Another child claimed Holmes ‘hated’ the three-year-old boy. Investigators noted that one child inside the home had lost 40 pounds since Holmes began living there. One deputy observed ‘very little to no food in the cabinets or refrigerator.’

Investigators say Holmes claimed the boy would collapse because of his leg issues. Investigators say Holmes claimed he told his girlfriend the boy needed care at the emergency room, but she refused. Investigators say he told deputies, ‘I never intentionally did anything to that child. And I never did something I thought inadvertently hurt him. That I can recall. There was never anything I did that caused an injury.’

Investigators say deputies asked to search Holmes’ phone. They say Holmes stated he did a factory reset the day when the request was asked. Investigators say he also declined a polygraph. Deputies say Holmes admitted the state of California investigated him for allegations of injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome of his own son in 2012.

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