Police: 3-year-old boy dies after being beaten by stepfather

Image 1 of 5

The 3-year-old boy who was in a local hospital with critical injuries after police say he was beaten by his stepfather died this afternoon.

Villa Rica Police arrested Joshua Richards, the son of Carrollton Police Chief Joel Richards, at the Hickory Falls Apartments on Tuesday morning after the boy's mother woke up Tuesday morning, and found the child non-responsive.

Officials said the boy's injuries to his head and body were so severe that medics had to airlift him to an Atlanta hospital.

“It breaks your heart. This is a beautiful child who is defenseless against an adult. It breaks your heart,” said Villa Rica Police Department Captain K.L. Shaddix.

Investigators believe Richards beat the boy with a belt. He had previously been charged with cruelty to children, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, and possession of marijuana.

Officials now anticipate that additional charges, possibly including murder, will be added.