Metro police on Thursday arrested a Las Vegas mother and stepfather for the beating and eventual death of a 7-year-old boy.
Roderick Arrington Jr., 7, was pronounced dead on Nov. 30 at a hospital. He had been admitted in critical condition and was unresponsive. Metro police believe he took a severe beating at the hands of Markiece Palmer, 34, and Dina Palmer, 27.
The two are charged with child abuse, neglect and murder.
"The first thing you think of is what could he have done to deserve that kind of punishment?" said Angel Gray, a neighbor in the area of Desert Inn Road and Decatur Boulevard.
Police said the child came to live with the Las Vegas couple just a few months ago, after residing with his father in Bloomington, IL.
Police believe the child was subjected to repeated instances of abuse.
"Nice, normal people," Gray said. "My daughter and their son, RJ, played together. He'd come to our house, ask us for rides to school."
Markiece Palmer told police that on Wednesday, Nov. 28, he took off his belt, tied it in a loop and struck Roderick Arrington Jr. before shaking him. Markiece further told police that the child then ran down a flight of stairs, slipped and hit his head on a table before falling backwards on the floor.
Dina Palmer also admitted to striking her child with the same belt.
"I'm trained to know when a child is being abused, but (there were) no signs," said Gray, who is a preschool teacher. "He was very talkative, friendly, well-mannered."
Police discovered marks on the child and Dina Palmer admitted to having given him "whoopins."
Some of the reasons for those "whoopins" included failure to complete homework and failure to read Bible passages.
Markiece and Dina Palmer are currently in Clark County Detention Center.
According to a letter sent to parent on Monday, Roderick Arrington Jr. was a second grade student at Owen Round Elementary School.
Copyright 2012 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.