Central Falls couple charged with child abuse

Kirstie Cullen, Christopher Stanley

A Central Falls couple was charged in a what authorities called a case of horrific child abuse.

Prosecutors said a 3-year-old boy showed signs of hypothermia, trauma and malnutrition.

The child is being treated at Hasbro Children's Hospital, which notified the police about the alleged abuse on April 27.

Prosecutors said the boy's 26-year-old mother, Kirstie Cullen, came home to the child soaking in an extremely cold bathtub. The toddler was apparently blue, prosecutors said, and was possibly left in the water by 26-year old Christopher Stanley, the mother's live-in boyfriend.

Cullen and Stanley were each charged with first-degree child abuse and conspiracy. They were held on $50,000 bail with surety after their arraignments Wednesday.

Prosecutors also said there was evidence that items like spoons or fingers were shoved down the toddler's throat.

The child also had injuries to the buttocks. The skin appeared to be burned, as if the toddler was dragged across a hot surface. The child also had bruises on his body and forehead.

Prosecutors said they believe the abuse had been happening for a while and that there were signs of severe malnutrition.

The mother denied allegations of child abuse in court.

The state Department of Children, Youth and Families contacted police, believing the pair waited to call 911 even after the toddler's life-threading injuries.

DCYF confirmed with NBC 10 they had no prior contact with the family.

Central Falls police said the toddler and his sister were removed from the home and placed in the custody of caregivers.

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