6 people accused of pouring scalding water on 3-year-old as punishment

NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey mother and five other adults were arrested for allegedly beating a 3-year-old boy and scalding him with hot water.

The victim’s mother, Natacha Smith, 43, faces charges of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

The others who lived with Smith in a shared house in Newark were arrested on the same charges.

The Essex County Prosecutor's Office identified them as Patricia Gamarra, 62; Mary Buchan, 55; Patricia Buchan, 28; Bridget Buchan, 23; and Homey Searcy, also known as Omar Searcy, 39.

Starting in July, the six adults are accused of abusing the boy in a "systematic and coordinated beating" using a belt and fists, prosecutors said Wednesday. They also allegedly burned him with hot water as a form of punishment.

The child is now in protective custody after undergoing treatment at an area hospital, according to The Star-Ledger.

Authorities learned of the alleged abuse after workers at a Newark preschool contacted them, according to the paper.

They were scheduled to make a court appearance Thursday.