Updated: Pair charged with sexual torture of young siblings, attempted murder
Published 8:57 pm Wednesday, December 21, 2016
A pair of siblings are in critical condition after a man and woman have been charged with what Butler County law enforcement are calling one of the worst child abuse cases the sheriff’s office has seen.
Jonathan Smith, 33, and Michelle Smith, 30, have been charged with two counts of sexual torture, two counts of aggravated child abuse (family) and two counts of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12 following an investigation stemming from a call received on Monday night.
Additional charges were added for both Thursday as a result of the ongoing investigation, including two counts of first-degree domestic assault and two counts of attempted murder.
Also, Michelle Smith was charged with second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer and Jonathan Smith was charged with possession of a controlled substance.
Deputies were dispatched to a Greenmore community home, located in southern Butler County near Chapman, in reference to a medical emergency.
Officials discovered two children, a brother and sister, who were severely beaten. The siblings were then rushed to L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital in Greenville, and then transported to Children’s of Alabama hospital in Birmingham for further treatment.
Jonathan and Michelle Smith were each placed on a $1 million bond Wednesday, which has since been upgraded to a $3 million bond Thursday, and the pair remain in the Butler County Jail.
Butler County sheriff Kenny Harden said that, due to the nature of the case as well as the ongoing investigation, he couldn’t release additional information regarding the investigation, nor the extent of the siblings’ injuries.
“”In my 38 years, this is the worst case I’ve seen in my career,” Harden said.
“A child or elderly people can’t defend themselves and any time you abuse a child or an elderly person, that hurts everybody. We’re very concerned and taking it very seriously. They’re going to be prosecuted to the max. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that these two never hurt another child or a person.”
Harden said that there could be additional charges, as the investigation was ongoing.