Las Vegas Sun

August 24, 2019

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Police report: Boy, 2, suffered scratches, bruises, burn

While a mass search for a 3-year-old boy reported missing Sunday at Sunset Park was taking place, detectives discovered that his younger brother had scratches and bruises on his face and legs, according to Metro Police.

Both the 2-year-old boy and Daniel Theriot, 3, suffered abuse at the hands of their mother, Cassie Smith, 20, and her boyfriend, Joshua Oxford, 40, police allege.

Daniel did not survive, police said. His body was found Monday morning in a remote area at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area less than 24 hours after Smith falsely reported him missing at the south valley park, police said.

Prosecutors on Wednesday charged Smith and Oxford with murder in the death, according to Las Vegas Justice Court logs.

Smith’s initial account of how Daniel vanished began to unravel within four hours after the search began, police said.

On Monday, the couple were booked on a count of child abuse and neglect involving the 2-year-old, according to police. A report detailing those allegations was made public today.

After Daniel was reported missing Sunday morning at Sunset Park, where Smith had told police she’d gone with the boy to feed the ducks, police and Child Protective Services responded to a home near Lorenzi Park, where Oxford was caring for the 2-year-old boy, authorities said.

When investigators noticed marks on the child’s face, they took him to a hospital to be evaluated, according to the report.

He had scratches, bruises and fingernail marks on his legs and a healing burn on one of his ankles, police said. On his face, he had bruises and hemorrhage marks around his eyes and scratches and bruises on his ears, police said.

Medical staff agreed the injuries were not accidental, but when investigators confronted Smith, she only said she thought the boy had suffered a rug burn, police said.

She broke down crying when they told her the explanation was not plausible and evidence suggested she could have struck him, based on her being left-handed and where the injuries were located, police said. She then told detectives she’d seen Oxford pinching the boy and grabbing him by his ears, and that he’d hurt him when she wasn’t around, police said.

As of this afternoon, police have not released further details about how Daniel died or how his body was found. But on Monday Metro Lt. Ray Spencer said “it’s absolutely disturbing on how the child, we think, was killed.”