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A 5-year-old was beaten ‘to teach him a lesson’ for opening a Christmas gift early, police say

By Mandy Matney

mmatney@islandpacket.com

Bridgette Payne posted photos of her 5-year-old son who was allegedly beaten by her boyfriend.
Bridgette Payne posted photos of her 5-year-old son who was allegedly beaten by her boyfriend.

Bridgette Payne “lost it” when she first saw her son covered in bruises after her boyfriend had been babysitting him on Saturday, she wrote on Facebook in a detailed account of the incident.

The Oklahoma mother said “nothing seemed wrong” when she got home from running errands, she wrote on Facebook. Her boyfriend, Wesley McCollum, 22, told her that her 5-year-old son Ayrian had been sent to bed early for opening a Christmas present under the tree without permission.

Then, she got her son out of bed and saw the bruises and welts all over his body, and a hand print on his cheek.

“Words cannot explain seeing your baby like this and having no clue what happened,” she wrote on Facebook. “I ran to him like any mother would do crying, hugging him, beggin what happened.”

Her son told her, “Wesley hurt me bad mama” several times, Payne wrote on Facebook.

Payne called the police on McCollum, who was arrested Saturday evening and charged with child neglect and child abuse, online police records show.

Payne wrote on Facebook that McCollum kept telling her that he did it “to teach him a lesson" and "he needed to learn to listen.”

“For a grown man to punch a child over and over and slap him and beat him with a belt ALL over is no man at all,” she wrote. “He is the lowest scum on earth...”

As a former victim of domestic abuse, Payne said on Facebook that she never thought anything like this would happen with McCollum.

“Not once in these past 10 months have I ever even seen anger out of this person,” she wrote. “I never EVER thought he would do this or I would of never been with him. Plain and simple.”

“There is an evil inside of some people no one sees and that's how this happened. If I could change my son places in a heartbeat I would.”

McCullum is still in police custody, according to online records. Payne told KJRH that she’s filed a protective order against him.

An estimated 4.7 million Americans report experiencing physical violence from their partner every year, according to the CDC. In 2015, 683,000 victims of child abuse and neglect were reported to Child Protective Services. However, the CDC estimates that these numbers are under-reported as a recent study estimated that 1 in 4 children experience some form of child abuse or neglect in their lifetimes.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, The Domestic Violence Hotline is here to help at 800-799-SAFE.

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