A missing five-year-old Kentucky boy, who was allegedly kidnapped along with his mother, was found dead in a nearby area, Kentucky Police confirmed Monday afternoon.
James Spoonamore’s body was found by the police during the third attempt to find the child since his wounded mother was found at the bottom of a cliff two days earlier, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported citing police. His 41-year-old mother Jessica Durham had been tossed from a 100-foot cliff on Friday but she survived with multiple injuries. Hikers found her the next day.
Durham told the police that 41-year-old Lonnie Belt assaulted and kidnapped her and her son. The accused was arrested Saturday evening. Belt has been charged with murder, assault, kidnapping and tampering with physical evidence and the investigation is still under way. The exact relationship between Belt and Durham is not clear yet.
The five-year-old’s body was found six-tenths of a mile from where his mother was rescued by hikers on Saturday near Sparks Ridge Road in Nevada, state police Commissioner Rick Sanders told the Lexington Herald-Leader. Police have not released any further details about how the boy died or about the extensive search that led to the finding of his body.
Belt told the police that he was involved in an argument with Durham over money before he kidnapped the mother-son duo. He said that he tied up Durham and drove her to the top of the cliff and when he untied her there, she tried to fight back before he pushed her off the cliff, according to Fox News.
A family friend, Mary Batson, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Belt arrived at Durham's house while her husband, David Durham was in the house. David later told Batson he was not in the house.
"She walked in there, and when she walked in, the guy hit her in the back of the head and she fell to the ground," Batson spoke about the incident. "He got mad because she didn’t get knocked out with the first hit, so he hit her two or three more times. She would never knock out."
Durham told the police that she had last seen her son with Belt when she was pushed off the cliff. Durham suffered a broken ankle, a shattered pelvis, head trauma and internal bleeding. She has been on oxygen but is expected to live, Batson said.
"I just can’t understand why this would happen," Batson said. "Jesse just stays to herself. She volunteers at the library and was looking for work. She is quiet and doesn’t put her business out there. Especially James. He just turned 5 last month and just started school. He’s a lovable kid all around. You can tell he’s momma’s boy."
An autopsy was scheduled for the child's body in Frankfurt, Commissioner Sanders said. "It’s a tragic day for all of us," Sanders said. "It’s horrible any time you have a death. But when you have the death of a young child, it hurts even more."
In a similar incident reported in May, a 6-year-old Mississippi boy was killed after he was kidnapped in the vehicle where his mother left him as she went shopping for groceries, according to New York Times. Three teenagers were later convicted of the murder of the child.