A Las Vegas man accused, along with his girlfriend, of murdering her 3-year-old son before dumping the body poured hot water on the child and repeatedly struck him prior to his death, according to reports.
Joshua Oxford, 40, has been charged, along with 20-year-old Cassie Smith, in connection with the death of Daniel Theriot, who Smith reported missing from Sunset Park on the morning of September 2.
The 3-year-old’s body was eventually found in a remote area near Lake Mead in what police described as a “deeply disturbing” condition, reported KTNV.
According to an arrest report seen by Fox 5, Smith told officers that she had witnessed Oxford spank and strike Daniel during their relationship
On the night of his death, Smith told the Las Vegas Metro Police Department that Oxford started spanking the boy after he accused the 3-year-old of being “disrespectful” and having a “bad attitude” towards him.
Smith said Oxford “lost it” with Daniel and threw water over him. She said Oxford then heated up the water on the stove and poured it over him, according to the arrest report.
Daniel reportedly screamed “ow” and cried out for his mother after having the water poured on him, with Smith watching the incident the entire time, reports KLAS.
The arrest report also states that Oxford’s mother, Kathy Evans, was babysitting Daniel and Smith’s other young son while the pair ran errands following the hot water incident. Evans also admitted to witnessing some of the abuse at the hands of Oxford.
“[Daniel] was in trouble for something before [I got there],” Evans said, reports Fox 5. “I don’t know what it was. He was standing in the corner when I got there.
“Daniel was standing up he wanted to lay down and Josh told him: ‘No, you’re being punished.’” Evans said Oxford then hit the boy when he lay down on the floor.
Later that night, Evans put Daniel to bed while Smith and Oxford went out. The boy was sleeping when they returned home. Smith said she found her son dead on the floor the next morning.
Smith said she initially planned on calling the police, but was told not to by Oxford because they would both go to jail. The pair then took Daniel’s body and dumped it in a white box they found in a deserted area near Lake Mead.
The following morning, Smith dialed 911 to say Daniel had vanished after she’d taken him to Sunset Park to feed the ducks. As part of the investigation, officers made contact with Oxford, who was looking after Smith’s other 2-year-old son at the time.
The 2-year-old was taken into the custody of the Child Protection Service (CPS) after they spotted signs of physical abuse.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, detectives became suspicious early on during the investigation as no one in the park could recall seeing Smith with a young boy on the morning she reported him missing.
Oxford has since appeared in court charged with the boy’s murder.
“This is not an ordinary child abuse, neglect or endangerment type case,” Judge William Jansen said, according to Fox 5. “This is much more serious.”
Prosecutors said Daniel’s autopsy showed evidence of ongoing abuse at the hands of both Smith and Oxford. The suspects are currently being held at the Clark County Detention Center on a $100,000 bail.