A five-year-old boy who was found murdered earlier this month was killed because he witnessed his alleged murderer throw his mother from a cliff — because the suspect thought she owed him $200.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, James Spoonamore was found dead earlier this month in Jackson County, Kentucky. Two days prior, hikers found his mother, Jessica Durham, badly injured at the bottom of a cliff. She told police that she had been pushed off the cliff by a man by the name of Lonnie Belt, and that she believed he had her son.
When police went to Belt’s home to question him, he refused to tell them where James was. The little boy reportedly died after being hit in the head with a metal object.
Belt, 41, has been charged with murder.
CBS News reports that Belt told police he kidnapped Jessica Durham and her young son from their home because Jessica’s husband David Durham had allegedly stolen $200 from him. Kentucky State Police detective Charles Brandenburg reportedly testified at a preliminary hearing on Monday that Belt said he intended to hold the woman and the young boy hostage until David paid him the money.
The detective said he did not know why Belt turned violent towards Jessica. The suspect allegedly hit her in the head with a metal object and beat her before throwing her off an 80-foot drop. Brandenburg reportedly testified that Belt said he killed James because the boy saw what he did to his mother.
“He finally admitted to taking James, putting him in a car and driving him to a separate location, in the same wooded area, across Sparks Ridge Road, where he hit James in the back of the head with a metal object multiple times,” Brandenburg said at the hearing, according to WKYT.
Belt’s case has been sent to a grand jury.
Feature photo: Police handout