Man Charged in Child Abuse Case - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/23/06

Man Charged in Child Abuse Case

A man charged with torturing two children in a Garden City hotel was in court for his first appearance yesterday. Police arrested Lenton Heath Tuesday for beating and burning a six-year-old girl and her cousin, an 18-month-old boy.

Judge Tom Edenfield denied bond in the case.

Police arrested the children's grandmother, Gloria Patterson, and the little boy's mother, Monique Waples, last week. Monday night, they arrested Heath, the mother's boyfriend, when he showed up at the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department asking about the case.

Police found the children early on February 14 at the Masters Inn in Garden City. The security guard and guests told officers they heard children screaming from inside one of the rooms.

Investigators say the little girl and boy were beaten with an iron pipe and burned with cigarettes and lighters. Police are glad they have all three suspects in custody.

"We got some good information out of him last night, so we know he's involved," said Chief David Lyons of the Garden City Police Department. "We knew to start with, but now we know for sure."

Heath is charged with two counts of cruelty to a child and child molestation. Police say that's for having sex with the grandmother in front of children.

Heath's sister, Angela Bonaparte, says her brother wasn't involved, and she said she had no idea the children were being abused. "If I knew at the time, I would've gone down there and beat her behind," she said. "That's not right, that's not right."

Heath will be in court again on March 22.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

 

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