Authorities in Wisconsin say a man, his wife, and their teenage son have been arrested on suspicion of participating in the death of a younger child living with the family.
According to Fox News, investigators allege the 7-year-old victim had been physically abused prior to his death in April as punishment for failing to memorize assigned passages from the Bible.
Police reports claim 48-year-old Timothy Hauschultz, 38-year-old Tina Hauschultz, and their 15-year-old son took part in the punishment, which included forcing him to hold a heavy log for hours at a time.
The juvenile suspect is accused of kicking the younger boy repeatedly, standing on his head and taking part in other forms of physical abuse. Investigators believe the teen completely covered the victim in “his own little coffin of snow.”
The 7-year-old boy, identified only as Ethan, died from what medical examiners determined was hypothermia and blunt force trauma. Tina and Timothy Hauschultz are described in court documents as the guardians of Ethan, his twin, and another sibling.
Police say the teen suspect told investigators that he had been administering the same punishment to both Ethan and his twin when they could not recite a collection of 13 verses selected by his father.
Officials confirmed all three relatives will face charges related to the boy’s death. The teen is expected to be charged with reckless homicide in the first degree.
His father faces felony counts including murder contributing to the delinquency of a minor and his mother is expected to face charges of failing to prevent bodily harm and intentionally contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
All three are set to make a preliminary court appearance on Monday, according to Newsweek.
Andrea Everett, Ethan’s birth mother, addressed his death in a statement last year.
“I want justice for my son and the person responsible should go to jail for a very long time,” she said.
[Featured image: Timothy Hauschultz and Tina Hauschultz, Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office]