A Virginia teenager accused of beating a young boy to death has been officially charged as an adult, court officials confirmed.
ABC 13 reports that according to the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney, 14-year-old Robert Bolsinger-Hartshorn is facing a second-degree murder charge in connection with the 2018 death of Larkin Carr, 4. The suspect is the son of Hank Smith’s girlfriend, Catherine Louise Seals. Hank Smith is Larkin’s father.
Larkin and his younger brother, 3, were staying with their father, Smith, on a trial basis in his Norfolk home when the alleged abuse began. After temporarily living in foster care, the boys moved in with their dad and Seals in July 2018. Bolsinger-Hartshorn and Seals’ toddler daughter also lived in the home.
Bolsinger-Hartshorn waived his preliminary hearing on Wednesday after Norfolk Juvenile Domestic Relations Court Judge Robert Smith III ruled the teen would face charges as an adult. The suspect is also facing charges as an adult for strangulation, malicious wounding, and child abuse.
Larkin’s cousin, Margie Thomas, told CrimeOnline she was relieved to learn that if convicted, the teen would likely get a lengthier sentence.
“I am overwhelmed with joy knowing he is being held accountable and charged as an adult. He took the life of my sweet baby cousin and knowing this gives us peace. We promised to be Larkin’s voice and this is the first step to justice.”
“Absolutely Nothing” Done to Stop the Abuse: Prosecutors
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Bolsinger-Hartshorn is accused of beating, kicking, slapping, starving, and torturing Larkin, who passed away in November 2018. Seals is accused of doing “absolutely nothing” to stop the abuse, according to court documents filed at the Norfolk Circuit Court.
Bolsinger-Hartshorn called his mother on November 12, 2018, and said Larkin was unresponsive. Seals, who said she was not at home when her son contacted her, called 911.
Detective Matthew Nordan said earlier this year that he spoke to Seals several times following Larkin’s death. The detective said Seals changed her story multiple times, but ended up admitting she witnessed Larkin throwing up throughout an entire weekend before he died.
Seals allegedly admitted she saw a “brown-reddish substance” in the boy’s vomit, according to The Virginian-Pilot. She reportedly claimed she didn’t take Larkin in for medical help because he didn’t have a fever and had slowly started eating again.
The following Monday, as Seals dropped her daughter off in Virginia Beach, Bolsinger-Hartshorn called her about Larkin. She then decided to call 911 for assistance.
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 on the same day.
According to court documents, an autopsy noted Larkin had blunt force trauma to his head and abdomen. He had around 70 to 90 bruises on his body, according to WAVY. The autopsy indicated Larkin also had 10 welts on his scalp and a blow so severe that his small intestine ruptured.
When authorities questioned Bolsinger-Hartshorn, 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, Larkin passed away.
Father and his Girlfriend Charged
Smith said he typically left his two boys with Seals while he worked. Seals then left the boys in the teen’s care on numerous occasions, according to court documents.
Seals was initially charged with felony child abuse and neglect in connection with the boy’s death, but her charges have since been upgraded to homicide. Smith has been charged with child abuse and neglect.
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 noticeable injuries.
Patterns of Abuse and Lies: Prosecutor
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, beating them, and making them hang from pull-up bars.
“Larkin would tell me that the 14-year-old would hit him,” Larkin’s mother, Tracy Quiñones, told CBS 17. “It was told to me that what Larkin was saying wasn’t true and everything was fine.”
Quiñones noticed bruising on both boys during previous visitations with them. She said she reported the incident to Norfolk Child Protective Services, but nothing ever came of it. Quiñones said CPS visited Larkin’s home and determined “everything was OK.”
“When they had checked the home and checked everything out, they had told me that everything was OK,” Quiñones said.
On January 30, Seals’ defense lawyer argued that her bail should be reduced since she wasn’t home at the time boy died, but still 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.
Both Seals and the teen remain behind bars without bond. Bolsinger-Hartshorn’s case is scheduled to go before a grand jury on October 24. Seals’ trial is scheduled to start on November 13 at the Norfolk Circuit Court.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
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[Feature Photo: Larkin Carr/Family Handout]