A 12-year-old Paulding County boy found unconscious inside his home showed multiple signs of physical abuse, police said Monday.
The boy’s father, Shayaa Yusef Forbes, 32, was arrested and charged with felony child cruelty, according to Cpl. Ashley Henson with the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office. But that charge will likely be upgraded when the results of the child’s autopsy are released, Henson said.
Deputies were called shortly before 10 p.m. Friday to a home on North Springs Way, off Cedarcrest Road, on a report of a possible drowning, Henson said.
Inside the home, deputies found the boy unconscious, according to police. The boy was transported to WellStar Paulding Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“It’s heartbreaking to see a child and to see how this young man has suffered,” Henson said. “It’s very troubling.”
Police declined to release the child’s name, but neighbors and friends identified the boy as Eric Forbes, a sixth grader at McClure Middle School in Dallas. Tiffany Mathna told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that her daughter and Eric were classmates and friends.
“Everybody’s in shock,” Mathna said Monday night. “You don’t think expect it in your backyard.”
Eric Forbes was a normal kid who made good grades and played football, Mathna said.
Although the child’s cause of death was not known Monday afternoon, he appeared to have been beaten to death, according to police.
“The male juvenile, who had multiple bruises, bite marks, lacerations, and other marks that are consistent with physical abuse, appeared to have endured abuse for quite some time,” Henson said in an emailed statement.
A girl who lived in the home with Forbes was placed in protective custody, Henson said.
Forbes was arrested late Friday following a joint investigation between the sheriff’s office and the GBI. He was being held Monday afternoon in the Paulding County jail without bond.
Anyone with information that could assist in the investigation is asked to the contact the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office Crimes Against Children Division at 770-445-6105.
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