A Virginia woman and her teen son are currently under investigation after a badly bruised and beaten little boy passed away while in the care of the teen.
WAVY reports that on November 12, a 14-year-old called his mother, 35-year-old Catherine Louise Seals, to report that Larkin Carr, a 4-year-old boy in his care, was unresponsive in their Norfolk home. Seals called 911 and Larkin was subsequently taken to the Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters (CHKD).
Doctors noticed the boy had a black eye and bruises all over his body. He died in the hospital the same day.
According to court documents, an autopsy noted Larkin had blunt force trauma to his head and abdomen. Assistant Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney, Jill Harris, said he had around 70 to 90 bruises on his body, according to the outlet. The official cause of death, however, is still pending.
Larkin and his younger brother, 3, were staying with their father, Hank Smith, on a trial basis when the alleged abuse began. After living in foster care, the boys moved in with their dad and his girlfriend, Seals, in July. Seals’ teen son and her toddler daughter also lived in the home.
When authorities questioned the teen, he said his mother left him in charge of the two boys on November 9. He reportedly admitted to punching Larkin repeatedly, slamming a chair into his stomach, and holding his head down that day. A few days later, when Larkin passed away, Seals was not at home and again left the teen in charge of the little boys’ care.
Smith was reportedly working out of town when his son passed away. He left his two boys with Seals while he worked, and Seals in turn, left the boys in the teen’s care on numerous occasions, according to court documents.
Larkin’s trip to the hospital in November marked the second time he’d been taken in with injuries. In September 2018, Larkin and his brother were brought into CHKD with strangulation injuries, reportedly caused by the 14-year-old.
Initially, the boys’ father and the teen told authorities that the little boys harmed each other while playing, but medical experts said the injuries weren’t caused by young children their age.
Prosecutors said the teen consistently abused both boys while watching them over a span from July to November. He’s accused of pushing them, taking away their toys, hitting them, and making them hang from pull-up bars.
Seals is accused of knowing about the abuse but failing to stop her son. Harris said the teen gave Larkin “repeated beatings every other day.”
During the last days of his young life, Larkin spent time in bed, extremely ill. He was vomiting “brown and black matter” but no one got the boy medical help, according to Harris.
Seal was charged with two counts of child abuse and neglect causing serious injury, while the teen is facing a strangulation charge. Neither have been charged with the boy’s death. Seals remains behind bars without bond.
On January 30, Seals’ defense lawyer argued that her bail should be reduced since she wasn’t home at the time boy died, but called emergency services to get him help.
Judge Lauri D. Hogge, who said she was “speechless” after reviewing graphic images of Larkin’s tiny bruised body, denied the woman’s bond.
“I may go vomit,” the judge said.
Meanwhile, Larkin’s family is hoping for justice.
“Catherine allowed her son to abuse my 4-year-old handsome baby cousin,” family member Margie Thomas told CrimeOnline. “She did nothing to stop the abuse that was ongoing for 2 1/2 months.”
Larkin’s biological mother, Tracey Quiñones, noticed bruising on both boys during previous visitations with them. She told WAVY that she reported the incident to Norfolk Child Protective Services, but nothing ever came of it.
“They’re supposed to protect your children from situations like this. I feel like they failed my son and they failed his family.”
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Larkin Carr/Family Handout]