(Memphis) The woman who possibly saved the life of a child beaten by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend is speaking out for the first time since their conviction.
Jennifer Banks and Kenon Pack face 25 years for the aggravated child abuse they heaped on a 5-year-old child.
The conviction falls three years to the day when that 5-year-old victim got to school and was so severely beaten, bruised and cut open that she couldn’t sit down or even walk properly.
“Skin tight. Puss running. Discoloration. Just swollen and you could hear her moaning,” Alcy Elementary Principal Sunya Payne said about the victim who showed up to school brutalized.
Payne still can’t shake the horrific images of the abused kindergarten student. Thanks to her fast action, the 5-year-old little girl was rushed to Le Bonheur in critical condition with internal bleeding.
“I didn’t know if she was going to make it. That’s how bad the bruises were,” said Payne.
Payne stayed at the hospital as her student’s caretaker for days because the girl’s mother and her boyfriend were under arrest and charged with brutalizing the little girl.
“She has scars on her that cannot be removed. I mean, she had a skin graft and that mark will be there the rest of her live,” said Payne.
The little girl, now 8, testified in court this week, clutching a teddy bear as she recounted the horrific experience of being beaten with a homemade paddle, wrapped in duct tape with a belt on the end.
“Very difficult for a little girl to sit up on the stand, and it’s difficult to watch. Their feet don’t touch the ground. They’re nervous. They’re scared,” said District Attorney General Amy Weirich.
The victim is now living with the father’s parents in West Memphis.
Principal Payne says she never expected Banks and Pack would do something like that, and now she pleads with everyone to turn over any suspicions you have that a child may be in danger, because it could be going on where you least expect it.
“It’s very important for an individual to take anything a child says seriously because you never know,” said Payne.
District Attorney Weirich says there is a difference in disciplining your child and breaking the law.
She says if you injure your child in the process of disciplining them, you can and should be charged.