***UPDATE TUESDAY 4:46 P.M.***An alleged child abuser is behind bar, and cops say he won’t be getting out any time soon. Columbia Police arrested Devin Benke overnight Monday. He’s the man who’s been on the run since last week when police say he left a four-year-old unconscious and bruised.It’s estimated a child is abused in Missouri every two hours. This case prompted Jefferson City Police to even put out a wanted poster, something they say they rarely do. Cops say last week’s abuse started when the four-year-old boy spilled a bowl cereal. It happened at 2203 Melody Drive in Jefferson City Benke was babysitting.Jefferson City Police Captain Doug Shoemaker says Benke “then became allegedly very angry and then struck the child, pushed him down several times” leaving the boy bruised and cut.As further punishment, Benke allegedly put the boy in the shower, running the water on the coldest setting. Missouri American Water reports the water line was at 41.7 degree that day.”Which could’ve resulted in the death to the child, a four-year-old child,” Shoemaker said.Nationally, child abuse and child deaths resulting from abuse are on the decline, from 681 thousand reported cases and just over 15 hundreds deaths in 2011, down from more than 700 thousand cases and more than 17 hundred deaths in 2007.In Missouri, numbers show these types of cases aren’t rare. In 2011 there were more than 60 thousand reported child abuse cases, up more than 8 thousand from 2007. Although the number of the child deaths from abuse are down in the state, Capt. Shoemaker tells ABC 17 News police don’t take these cases lightly.”When there’s a child involved I think it takes a different tone to some degree.”Benke is being held in the Cole County Jail on a $75,000 bond for the child abuse charge. He’s also being held without bond on a separate warrant for a previous domestic violence incident.***UPDATE TUESDAY 6:00 A.M.***Columbia police officers arrested Devin Benke Monday night, but didn’t give details about how they found him. He was booked into the Boone County jail and was still there as of Tuesday morning.***ORIGINAL STORY***A Jefferson City man charged with child abuse in on the run from police Sunday night. Devin Benke was charged late last week with abuse of a child for allegedly shoving a child into a shower with cold water running. This weekend the child’s family reached out to ABC 17 News saying Benke’s on the loose.Jefferson City police couldn’t say whether officers are actively looking for Benke. Court records show Benke has a lengthy criminal history including multiple drug charges, trespassing and domestic assault.
BE PART OF THE CONVERSATION
ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.
Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here
If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.