WARSAW, Mo. (KMIZ)
Benton County prosecutors accused a man and woman of multiple felony charges linked to severe beatings of a man, woman and two children that resulted in a 4-year-old dying.
Ethan Mast, 35, and Kourtney Aumen, 21, face charges of second-degree murder, first-degree assault and first-degree sexual abuse.
Court documents say Benton County Sheriff's deputies responded to a residence in the 24000 block of Buckskin Lane for a possible domestic disturbance just after midnight on Sunday.
Deputies said a man led deputies to an upstairs bedroom where a 4-year-old child was wrapped in a blanket and lying on the floor. Authorities said in the probable cause statements that the child was lifeless and cold to the touch with bruising around the neck. Investigators said bruising and belt marks were seen across the child's body.
Investigators found a woman and a 2-year-old child in separate bedrooms with severe bruises and open sores across their bodies.
Mast and Aumen's probable cause statements said the couple went to the residence Saturday morning to beat the other family. The documents said they beat the 2-year-old and left around noon. Mast reportedly told investigators that he and Aumen returned around 5 p.m. and started beating the 4-year-old.
Mast said in the documents that the man and woman stood back and did not help the child or else they would have also been beaten.
Court documents said after the beating, the 4-year-old and the woman were ordered to go outside and get into a pond close by the residence. Investigators said the woman was forced to dunk the child into the water.
The man told authorities his neighbors across the street, Mast and Aumen, had been coming over to beat him, the woman and the children for the last two weeks. He said they would use a wooden spoon and a belt in the alleged assaults.
Court documents said the family had been threatened not to tell anyone and that the woman had a "demon."
Aumen said in an interview with deputies she did not know what was going on at the residence and that she had been sexually abused by James in the past. She also alleged the woman had used a gun to threaten them into abusing the couple and the children.
Court documents said Mast admitted to the assaults saying they had started two weeks earlier after he and Aumen had been traveling.
Authorities said Mast was helping Aumen with the assaults to help her and that the other couple was not properly disciplining their children. Mast alleged they would use a wooden and spoon and a leather belt in the beatings, the court documents said.
The Benton County Sheriff said Monday afternoon both were still being held in the county jail.