The holidays are supposed to be a time of family and cheer. At this time of year, we come together in unity and appreciate what we have, and who we have in our lives. Waking up to the warmth of family, and the gifts you’re fortunate to receive is a special feeling that many people look forward to each year; especially children. For an Oklahoma family, that morning took an unexpected turn, as a man beat his girlfriend’s son after he opened one of his Christmas gifts early.
Trying to ‘teach him a lesson’, 22-year-old Wesley McCollum resorted to violence on Christmas morning. Hitting 5-year-old Ayrian with a belt, he left the young boy injured in bed, where his mother came home to find him after running some early errands. To her shock and disbelief, she asked her son what had happened, when he answered: “Wesley hurt me bad, mama”. The child was sent to bed in pain, while his two other siblings were awake, on a morning that should’ve only brought joy to this young family.
Sharing photos of the aftermath on Facebook, the boy’s mother, Bridgette Payne, revealed the grueling injuries that her son endured that morning. Her post has been shared over 7,000 times, garnering a mass reaction from disappointed parents worldwide. With obvious bumps and marks surfacing on his head and back, it was clear the damage that was done. Multiple photos show heavy bruising, cuts, and bumps on the child’s upper body.
This came unexpectedly to the mother, who said that her boyfriend never had any prior violent outbursts in the ten months they had been together. “Wesley said that Ayrian got into trouble because he stole a present from under the tree and opened it,” she said. Such an innocent act could never and should never warrant such physical abuse. The mother could’ve never imagined such an outcome that morning when she left her innocent children asleep with her boyfriend. She now faces troubles sleeping herself, knowing what her child went through and that she “wasn’t there to protect him”.
McCollum today finds himself in Okmulgee County jail for two charges, including child neglect and child abuse. Additionally, the mother filed a request towards a restraining order, to ensure that this man stays away from her family for good. “Words cannot explain seeing your baby like this,” she added, “He is the lowest scum on earth”.
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