Father speaks after 6-year-old allegedly beaten to death by stepfather

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The biological father of a 6-year-old boy who died after he was allegedly whipped with an extension cord by his stepfather said his son had hinted at abuse.

Conarius Smith is speaking out about what he knew and how much he'll miss his little boy, Rafael Smith.

Rafael Smith

"He wasn't even an ordinary 6-year-old kid, because my son was loved by this whole city for being a happy kid," he said. "He just started soccer. I didn't know nothing about soccer, so I learned about it."

Smith said Rafael had a contagious smile he'll never forget.

"It hurts and angers me that my child didn't have a peaceful death. My child had to suffer," he said.

Police said the boy was found unresponsive Wednesday at his apartment on Pine Hollow.

He was rushed to the hospital where doctors said they found multiple injuries consistent with being whipped by an extension cord, but died hours later.

His stepfather, Donald Rich, was arrested for aggravated child abuse.

"I know me and him have had altercations before to something similar. My child had hinted towards abuse," said Smith.

Smith said in January, Rich and his son's mother moved away. Over the next few months, he said they wouldn't let Smith see his son.

"When they moved away, we couldn't find him," he said.

Then last week, he heard the tragic news.

Hospital staff said Rafael had new injuries as well as old injuries that had already healed over.

"There's no way possible she didn't know this was going on," Smith said about his child's mother.

Police told us this is an ongoing investigation and it's unclear if anyone else could face charges.

Child Services wouldn't comment on the case either.

"My son had a support system. He had a family over here that you isolated him from," he said.

The child's cause of death hasn't been officially determined.

Smith said he's still waiting on his son's mother to call him about what happened.

Police said they also found a one-year-old at the apartment, but it's unclear where that baby is now.

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