A woman from suburban Philadelphia, who police have dubbed a "mom from hell," was arrested after her 11-year-old son walked into a policing center with 27 bruises and welts on his body.
The boy walked into the Upper Darby Community Policing Center on Tuesday badly injured, police said. He was met by Nashid Ali, a social worker who runs the center.
The boy claimed his mother, 39-year-old Samantha Starnes of Upper Darby, beat him with a belt inside their apartment on Radbourne Road on Sunday because he wasn’t doing his chores, Ali said.
According to the child, his mother then returned an hour later to beat him again, this time using her fists. As he spoke, Ali said he saw the welts and bruises on the boy’s arms, back and legs.
“He lifted up his shirt,” Ali said. “His back was worse than his arms.”
Ali called both his supervisor and police to report the alleged abuse.
“What surprised me was that number one, he came in by himself,” Ali said. “Number two, he was 11-years-old and number three, I knew it was serious because he was patient.”
Investigators said they counted a total of 27 bruises and welts on the boy’s body.
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood only had one way to describe a mother accused of beating her son.
“We dubbed her around here as the mom from hell,” Chitwood said.
Police later found and arrested Starnes, charging her with assault and endangering the welfare of a child. She’s awaiting her preliminary hearing, unable to post bail. An attorney for Starnes is not listed on the docket and it is unclear if she obtained a lawyer.
Starnes’ neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said she often heard name-calling echoing through the walls of her apartment but was disgusted to learn about the abuse allegations.
“She really needs some help,” the neighbor said. “They shouldn’t let her a** out of jail, no offense. Keep her in jail.”
As for her son, officials with the Children and Youth Services are working with family members to develop a safety plan for the child.