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Starkeisha Brown and Krystal Matthews accused of torturing boy, 5

A 5-year-old Los Angeles boy is fighting for his life after police say he was severely tortured with burns and food deprivation by his lesbian mother and her live-in girlfriend.

Officials say the child has countless cigarette burns all over his body, including his genitals, and can’t open his hands because he was forced to put them flat on a hot stove.

The boy was also repeatedly beaten and forced to sit in his own urine, police said.

“In my time in policing in 27 years, I have never seen anybody with these kinds of injuries that has lived,” Los Angeles Police Department First Assistant Chief James McDonnell said. “And this kid must have a tremendous will to live to be able to still hang on despite what he’s been through.”

The abuse was “akin to a level of torture we hope our military personnel would never encounter,” said Lt. Vincent Neglia of the LAPD’s Abused Child Unit.

Other abuse the boy suffered included being denied food and water, as well as being beaten while suspended from a door with his hands above his head.

He also had a broken tooth with a nerve exposed.


The boy’s mother, 24-year-old Starkeisha Brown, is being held without bail on charges of torture, after turning herself in late Friday night. Police had made a public plea for help in locating the women and released their photographs.

The other woman, Krystal Matthews, 21, is being held on $100,000 bail on charges of willful harm or injury to a child. She was taken into custody yesterday when she showed up for her appointment at the county Department of Children and Family Services. Police say both women have a history of violence.

The boy, now in guarded condition, was rescued Monday by a stranger who found him abandoned and contacted authorities.

Both women actually had an appointment the same day with DCF and had brought the healthy child of a mutual friend in an attempt to pass him off as Brown’s son.

“I never knew a parent could do something like this. It was just a shock,” neighbor Mary Williams told the Los Angeles Times.

Williams’ 9-year-old grandson saw the boy often, and occasionally the two played together.

“How could you just do this and run off and leave him?” she told the paper. “I hurt for that baby.”

Another neighbor said, “If I [had known] anything, they would’ve been caught a long time ago.”

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