Westerly officer spots abused girl, suspect on sidewalk

WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI) — Westerly police and the Department of Children, Youth and Families’ Child Protective Services Unit are investigating a case of alleged child abuse, Eyewitness News has confirmed.

Westerly Police Chief Richard Silva says an officer on patrol spotted a 3-year-old girl and her alleged abuser on the sidewalk Monday afternoon.

“We were fortunate that one of our officers came upon the suspect with the child on Monday afternoon, and he readily identified the child had some substantial injuries,” Silva said in an interview Thursday. “He looked further into the matter and we were fortunate that he was able to get the child the medical care that she needed.”

Police believe the abuse happened inside the child’s John Street home when she was alone with the suspect. Family members tells us she was alone with her mother’s boyfriend at the time, while her mother was at work.

The 3-year-old was taken to the hospital with injuries to her head and body. A hospital spokeswoman says the child was discharged on Wednesday. Family members tell Eyewitness News she and another child living in the home have now been placed into protective custody.

“We are looking into a suspect who we believe may be responsible,” said Silva, who says the suspect’s version of events were inconsistent with the child’s injuries. Police are not naming the suspect at this time.

Family members tell Eyewitness News the girl’s mother and her boyfriend had moved into their home together less than a week prior to the incident.

“It’s just a sad case,” added Silva, who said it’s always hard for the first responders to see situations like this. “We’re all human. A lot of us have families and children and it breaks our hearts when we see cases like this. It’s difficult on everyone.”