According to authorities, on November 17, a Fayetteville woman and her boyfriend were charged over the personal injuries they inflicted upon the woman’s son.
On November 14, 35-year-old Tonia Michelle Powers and 34-year-old Todd Louis Lanford, her live-in boyfriend, were arrested and charged with maiming the boy. Lanford remained in Cumberland County Detention Center under $35,000 bond, while Powers posted $25,000 bail and was released.
Lanford has been charged with assault on a child under 12 years of age, malicious maiming, felony child abuse inflicting serious personal injury, assault by strangulation, and communication of a threat. Powers has been charged with aiding and abetting a felony and accessory after the fact.
According to investigators, they received an anonymous tip regarding suspected child abuse after the boy wasn’t seen at school or around his neighborhood for a period of several days.
Investigators determined that the child had been punched, kicked, and choked and discovered bruises all over his body, including his forehead, eyes, neck, arms, legs, and kidney area. They also discovered strangle marks on his neck.
According to Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Debbie Tanna, Lanford picked up the boy with his hands and choked him until he passed out.
According to authorities, the child also had a 3-inch cut along his genitals and bruises on his groin and pelvic area, but he was not sexually assaulted.
According to Sherrie Hunt, a neighbor, Powers and her son moved into the neighborhood a couple of years ago. She said that she and other neighbors had heard Powers cursing at the child and seen her “being a little rough with him” before, but had never seen her strike him.
The boy is in the custody of the Department of Social Services, where he will remain until the investigation is completed, according to authorities.