- Associated Press - Thursday, August 17, 2017

MURRIETA, Calif. (AP) - A Navy sailor and his girlfriend were charged Thursday with child abuse and torture after his malnourished 5-year-old son was found gravely injured in their Southern California home.

The boy was hospitalized in grave condition after police were called to the couple’s Murrieta home on Tuesday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/2v4CEgd).

Police did not say how the injuries were inflicted but that officers found “extremely unsanitary” living conditions at the home after receiving a 911 call reporting a child in need of medical aid. Officers found 11 dogs and four cats and feces and urine throughout the residence, Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad said.

Benjamin Whitten, 33, and Jeryn Johnson, 25, were arrested on Tuesday. The Riverside County District Attorney’s office charged the pair with one count of torture and one count of child abuse that allegedly caused a child to become comatose.

The couple’s arraignment was delayed until Aug. 24. Each is being held on $1 million bail.



John Hall, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said the public defender’s office will represent Whitten and another attorney would be assigned to Johnson.

The public defender’s office declined to comment on the case.

A Navy spokesman confirmed Whitten, the boy’s father, works as a machinist’s mate at Naval Base Point Loma.

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Information from: The San Diego Union-Tribune, https://www.utsandiego.com

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