A young boy in Hagerstown, Md., was beaten almost to death for taking—or, as family members put it, "stealing"—a piece of birthday cake without permission, police say. Prosecutors say the 9-year-old was handcuffed and severely beaten by his mother's boyfriend, 30-year-old Robert Leroy Wilson, and is not expected to survive, the Herald-Mail reports. According to police, another adult in the home called 911 after the boy was beaten unconscious on Tuesday afternoon but when paramedics arrived, the boy's mother told them he was just "congested." She didn't let them see the boy, but they were called back hours later when he stopped breathing, WJLA reports.
The boy was hospitalized in critical condition with head trauma and pulmonary contusions, according to charging documents, and was found to have bruises and contusions on his face, ears, neck, spinal column, abdomen, and buttocks. Some of these were in "varying stages of healing," the documents state, which WJLA notes indicates past abuse. He has not regained consciousness and prosecutors say he will have permanent injuries if he survives, per the Herald-Mail. Wilson faces charges including first-degree assault and child abuse and bail was set at $1 million after a hearing yesterday, the AP reports. (Read more child abuse stories.)