PAULDING COUNTY - 12-year-old Eric Forbes had bite marks, cuts, and bruises all over his body when he was found dead last week.
It wasn’t just a one-time thing.
“(He) appeared to have endured abuse for quite some time,” Cpl. Ashley Henson with the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators believe the abuse came at the hands of Forbes’ father.
Shayaa Yusef Forbes, 32, remains in jail. He’s charged with felony child cruelty. More charges could be coming after the medical examiner is done with the autopsy. It’s still not clear how they boy died.
Deputies found the boy’s body around 10 p.m. Friday at a home on North Springs Way. Authorities came because of a possible drowning. Inside the home, deputies found the boy unconscious, according to police. The boy was transported to WellStar Paulding Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“This is definitely one of the worst we have seen in quite some time,” said Cpl. Henson.
Now investigators are trying to figure out if anyone else saw it.
“We are asking anyone that noticed anything, if they would come forward,” said Cpl. Henson. “Maybe a teacher, a child, a neighbor or a friend.”
But apparently several of Forbes’ classmates at McClure Middle School in Dallas saw the bruises.
“He didn’t tell me that he was being abused, but he came to school with stiches and a black eye,” his classmate Adrianna told WSB. “He told me that he fell. He told another one of his friends that he got hit in the face with a baseball.”
There was another girl living at the home with Forbes and his dad. She has been place in protective custody, authorities said.
“It’s heartbreaking to see a child and to see how this young man has suffered,” Henson said. “It’s very troubling.”
Authorities have not officially released Forbes’ name. But neighbors and friends have identified Eric as the victim.
Still some of his neighbors can’t believe it.
“Far as I’m concerned he loved his kid,” said Duane Johnson. “They played ball, they ran and that was about it.”