By: Savannah Smith | 09-12-2017 | News
Photo credit: cbs46

Missing Kentucky Boy Found Dead After Mom Survived Being Thrown From Cliff

The missing Kentucky boy who witnessed her mother being beaten and pushed off a cliff over the weekend has finally been found after a massive search and rescue operations mounted by the authorities. Unfortunately, the five-year-old boy was dead already when authorities saw him. A man also from Kentucky has been charged on Monday with the poor boy’s murder.

The little boy identified as James Spoonamore helplessly watched as the suspect beat his mother Jessica Durham, bound her then pushed her off the cliff. The mother amazingly survived the ordeal and was discovered by two hikers who immediately alerted the police. The authorities have been looking for the boy the past two days. He was found Monday near the spot where his mother was left for dead.

Suspect Lonnie Belt, 41, has been charged with the murder of James Spoonamore. The suspect also faces charges of assault, kidnapping and tampering with evidence.

Rick Sanders, Kentucky State Police Commissioner, said they still don’t know how the boy died. An autopsy will be performed on the boy’s body and the results will likely be available in two days.

The boy’s mother, Jessica Durham, is still recovering in a Lexington hospital. The police also said that Belt and Durham are acquaintances and are not romantically involved. The only detail the authorities would share at this point related to the possible motive of the suspect for attempting to kill Durham and the boy is that the two adults had a fight over money.

The police also said that Belt hit Durham on the head, tied her up and took her to the cliff where he assaulted her again.

More than 200 people searched for the boy over the weekend, with the hope that just like his mother, he would be found alive. The search even involved police dogs, aircraft from the National Guard and lots of volunteers.

The boy was found around 9:31 a.m. about 180 feet off the road in Jackson County, about 65 miles southeast of Lexington. Sanders, however, declined to answer further questions on the boy’s murder.

The discovery of the boy’s murder was devastating for the family including for some relatives in Florida who were enduring Hurricane Irma while the authorities were in the thick of looking for the boy.

Durham’s sister, Mary Batson summarized what the family is going through now. She shared: “Honestly, it’s been hell. That’s the only way to describe it.”

The boy’s grandmother and Durham’s mother, Cynthia Wallace is still reeling from the impact of Irma as they are still without power in Winter Haven, Florida, is doubly broken-hearted. She said her little grandchild was a sweet boy who loved playing with cars and trucks and being in the water. She also said he only recently started kindergarten, and that he loved school so much he even wanted to go to class on weekends. Wallace is still finding it hard to accept what was done to her daughter and grandchild because it hurts so much.


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