WARNING: The following story contains graphic content not suitable for all readers
JAY COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — They found the 5-year-old boy in a filthy and unkempt home wearing only a diaper.
He had bruises and contusions all over his body as well as abrasions and injuries to his face. He looked malnourished, too, investigators said. By the time police arrived and took note of all this, though, the boy was already dead.
His mother claimed he fell, but an autopsy painted a different story.
Christian Crossland died from blunt force trauma to his head and mouth, according to newly released Jay Circuit Court documents, and his mother has been charged in his killing.
Jay County Prosecutors charged 27-year-old Chelsea Crossland with felony counts of murder and neglect of a dependent causing death Wednesday.
She is accused of beating her emaciated and dehydrated son so severely he had no chance to survive.
She is also facing a count of child molesting related to an incident between her and a young girl who lived in her home, according to court documents.
Crossland called police Thursday, telling emergency dispatchers her son had fallen at her Western Avenue home and was unresponsive, according to court documents.
An autopsy attended by investigators from the Indiana State and Portland police departments uncovered injuries consistent with a beating. That autopsy also found Christian was so malnourished he “failed to thrive,” according to court documents.
A girl who lived at the home told investigators Crossland beat, spanked and choked her son with her hands and other objects. The girl went on to say in court documents that Crossland did not immediately call emergency dispatchers after Christian lost consciousness.
Instead, Crossland talked about disposing of the boy’s body, the girl said in court documents.
The girl also told investigators Crossland routinely punished Christian by withholding food from him, sometimes for days at a time. Crossland also molested the girl, according to court documents.
When interviewed by investigators, Christian’s father told them Crossland previously expressed that she wished her son were dead, court documents said.
Crossland is being held in Jay County Jail.
The Jay County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement that Indiana State Police, the Portland Police Department, the Indiana Department of Child Services, the Jay County Coroner’s Office, and the prosecutor’s office all played parts in the investigation.