5-year-old boy found dead at bottom of a cliff after he watched suspect throw his mother off the same cliff

A five-year-old boy in Kentucky has been found dead Monday in an apparent homicide.

Kentucky State Police confirmed in a press conference Monday that a little boy who went missing this weekend after reportedly seeing a man toss his mother from a cliff was found dead at the bottom of the same cliff. The police spokesperson declined to identify the child because he is a minor but all information indicates it is James Spoonamore of Jackson County.

Spoonamore’s apparent death follows a series of bizarre events that began on Friday, and minimal details have been shared with the public.

There are uncertain reports about what initially led to the abduction, but it does appear that Spoonamore was with his mother, Jesse Durham, at their Jackson County home as they were preparing to leave for a doctor’s appointment when a family acquaintance showed up.

According to Lex18, Lonnie Belt, 40, arrived to the home and allegedly began assaulting Durham.

“She got hit in the head two or three times her hands got tied behind her back…she got blind folded and then she was put into a vehicle and she could hear James going, ‘mommy you’re bleeding,'” Spoonamore’s aunt told Lex18.

The suspect allegedly then took the mother to a nearby cliff and tossed her over a 100-foot drop. There are conflicting reports on whether the cliff was on the property of the home or elsewhere. Another local newspaper, the Lexington Herald Leader, reports that James’s father was also home at the time, and that he was injured in an unspecified assault.

Jessica Durham survived the fall, and was reportedly found by hikers on Saturday. She told police that Belt took her son James.

Kentucky State Police held a press conference on Monday that said police later found Belt at his home, but that the little boy was not there. The suspect reportedly refused to tell police where he was.

Belt was taken into custody on Saturday night, and charged with kidnapping assault and tampering with evidence, according to the Lexington Herald Leader. He told police that he and Jesse had gotten into an argument over money, and he also admitted to painting over her blood in the home. It is unclear if he did this before or after he allegedly threw her off a cliff.

Investigators began an aggressive search this weekend for the boy, and on Monday morning searchers reportedly found him at the bottom of a cliff. Authorities are transporting the body to Frankfurt for a medical examination.

Belt will be facing additional charges, which are still pending.

This is a developing story. CrimeOnline will provide an update when more information becomes available.


Feature photo: Sand Gab Fire Department