A South Carolina woman and her boyfriend were arrested for sexually molesting her 2-year-old son before brutally beating him to death, authorities said.
Jessica Blake Smith and William Ryan Looper were arrested Saturday at a residence on Country Lane in Clinton, where responding deputies from the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office found the toddler dead.
The boy, identified by WYFF as Brantley Smith, appeared to have been “brutally beaten” and sexually molested prior to his death, with injuries throughout his body. An investigation into the exact circumstances of the boy’s death was ongoing.
“These animals, who are possessed with pure evil, have no place in our society,” Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds said. “There is no rehabilitation for people this evil. I’m sure God has a place for these broken individuals, as he does for these precious children.”
Capt. Robert Wilkie said the circumstances of the case are “by far the worst” he has seen throughout his career as a homicide investigator.
“This incident brought tears to the eyes of our investigators and what these individuals did to this child is unimaginable,” Wilkie said.
Mourners gathered outside the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office late Sunday to memorialize the boy, leaving toys and candles alongside pictures and other personal items. The boy’s father, Justin Smith, said the pain is overwhelming.
“It’s real warming to see all the family and all my friends here,” Smith told the station. “But it’s still hard to come out and talk to anyone about what happened. Not much can be said after you lose a child.”
Looper was later charged with murder, criminal sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of unlawful conduct toward a child. Smith was charged with homicide by child abuse and two counts of unlawful conduct toward a child, WFSB reports.
Two other children – ages 6 and 7 – were also removed from the home and taken to a hospital for an evaluation.
By JOSHUA RHETT MILLER