A Kentucky man was charged Monday with the murder of a 5-year-old boy who watched helplessly as his mother was beaten, bound and pushed off a cliff over the weekend. The mother survived and was found by two hikers who alerted police, prompting a two-day search that ended earlier Monday when the boy’s body was discovered near where his mother was left for dead.
Police arrested Lonnie Belt, 41, and charged him with the murder of James Spoonamore. Belt also faces charges of assault, kidnapping and tampering with evidence. James’ mother, Jessica Durham, is recovering at a Lexington hospital.
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders said he did not know how the boy died. Results of an autopsy likely won’t be available for another two days.
It’s unclear if Belt has an attorney. Sanders said Durham and Belt are acquaintances and were not romantically involved.
Police offered few details of what happened. But a police report says Belt and Durham got into a fight over some money and “he hit her on the head, tied her up and took her to the cliff where he assaulted her again.” Sanders said two hikers discovered Durham Saturday morning at the bottom of an 80-foot embankment.
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