An Indianapolis mother is behind bars, accused of choking and abusing her 2-year-old son.
Natasha Pruitt, 33, faces several charges including Neglect of a Dependent, Strangulation, Battery and Intimidation following a year long investigation.
The boy's aunt, Jessica Janeck, told Fox59 she would often keep the boy for a few days, because Pruitt would threaten to kill her son if someone wouldn't take him from her.
"One of the threats was drown him in the bathtub," said Janeck. "There were times she threatened to throw him out of the car while she was driving, because he wouldn't stop screaming."
She said she called police when she saw Pruitt beat the boy at their apartment in the 6000 block of West Lake North Drive.
"(She) just started slapping him and slammed him on the floor and choked him. He was only two," said Janeck.
Janeck said the Department of Child Services became involved and took the boy away, but then brought him right back.
"They just took him right back to her. Right back to Natasha."
Another witness told police, in May of 2011, she saw "busted blood vessels" on the boy's neck and asked him what happened. She said the toddler answered, "Mommy choked me, I'm bad."
The witness also saw "broken blood vessels under his eyes... blood in the whites of his eyes... bruises on his arms and legs... and red marks across his body.”
Janeck told police, when she took the boy away from his mother, Pruitt replied, "Good, I'm gonna get drunk anyways. I don't want to deal with the kids tonight anyways."
Also that month, another witness recalled hearing Pruitt tell her over the phone, “I’m surprised CPS hasn’t been called on me yet. I held him up against a wall and choked him. If I held on any longer, he would have died.”
Fox59 contacted the DCS, but by law, a spokesperson could not comment on specific cases. However, when asked what it took for a child to be removed from a home, the spokesperson said the DCS has to gain permission to investigate, and then lay out its case in front of a judge. The judge has the final say on whether a child should be taken away from a parent.
"It's just been an uphill battle," said Janeck who claims she hasn't seen the boy since the 2010 incident.
She just hopes now that Pruitt is locked up, she won't be able to hurt her nephew anymore. She believes he's currently in foster care.
"I don't think she wanted to be a mom. I don't think she was prepared to be a mom. I don't think she's stable enough to be a mom," said Janeck.
Pruitt is being held on a $100,000 bond in the Marion County Jail. Her next court date is June 29.
Central Indiana mom arrested, accused of choking toddler
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