A Charleston area man allegedly pointed a gun at his young nephew and threatened to kill the boy after whipping him with a belt.
Paul Sowards, 24, of Newhouse Branch Drive just outside of Charleston, was arrested Tuesday and charged with felony child abuse resulting in injury, domestic battery and brandishing, both misdemeanors.
Amanda Graley-Pauley went to the South Charleston State Police detachment to report that her 7-year-old son was physically abused and threatened while in Sowards' care, according to a complaint filed in Kanawha Magistrate Court. Her son suffers from a disorder that causes him to "lash out and have uncontrollable behavior," the complaint said.
Cpl. B.A. Chandler interviewed the mother and Cpl. M. Moore, of the Crimes Against Children Unit, interviewed her son. Graley-Pauley told Chandler she dropped her son off early on Oct. 3 at the Newhouse Branch Drive home of Cathy Sowards, her stepmother.
The woman was having surgery that day and her stepmother agreed to watch him. Paul Sowards, Graley-Pauley's brother, also lives in the home.
When she returned later that day, her son told her he never wanted to stay there again. She said the boy told her that Cathy Sowards held him down while Paul Sowards struck him multiple times with a belt before he loaded a gun and told him he would "kill him and watch him die slow," the complaint said.
Graley-Pauley said she confronted her stepmother but that the woman told her that her child "got what he deserved," according to the complaint. Troopers noted redness on the boy's forehead, behind his left ear, on his buttocks and a large reddish-purple strap mark on his left leg.
Paul Sowards is free on bond. It wasn't immediately clear if Cathy Sowards was charged. The investigation is ongoing.