A Navy sailor and his live-in girlfriend have been arrested on accusations they abused and tortured the sailor's 5-year-old son and kept him in unsanitary living conditions in their Murrieta home.
Thirty-three-year-old Benjamin Whitten and twenty-five-year-old Jeryn Johnson were arrested on Tuesday.
According to Lt. Tony Conrad, officers and paramedics police were summoned to 24001 Verdun Lane, near Mountain Pride Park, about 10 a.m. Tuesday regarding a child in medical distress. Eleven dogs, four cats and two fish were taken from the location by Animal Control. He was rushed by ambulance to a local hospital before being airlifted to another medical facility in San Diego County.
Officers determined the boy received his injuries from an apparent case of child abuse, and detectives were called out to the home to investigate further, according to the release. Another neighbor who did not want to be identified said in the year and a half since the couple moved in, she rarely saw the little boy.
Wednesday the boy reportedly remained in "grave condition".
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Murrieta police and firefighters arrived at the home to find Whitten's biological son with severe injuries.
This photo was posted on Benjamin Whitten's Facebook page on July 4, 2014.
During the investigation into the child's "dire condition", police said, detectives searched his home and discovered "extremely unsanitary" living conditions.
The Navy confirmed Whitten is a Machinist's Mate Nuclear 1st Class Sailor out of Partsmouth Naval Shipyard Detachment in San Diego. A biographical data sheet provided by the Navy indicated he enlisted in 2009; his home state of record was listed as Texas. A spokesman for the DA's office said they had not been charged by midafternoon.