PHOENIX - Family members of a Valley child police say was abused by a couple because he struggled with his homework say they are upset with happened.
The uncle and aunt of the alleged victim live in Iowa, and told FOX 10 Wednesday night that the boy has been abused his whole life. They also say they are not surprised at this latest report, saying a custody battle ended in 2018 with the alleged victim and his sister returning to an abusive home.
"When you told me, I broke down. That's really hard. We love those kids and it's really hard that that's still happening," said Ashlie Marker, in an interview conducted via video conferencing.
Ashlie Marker (left) and Joshua Marker (right)
Ashlie and Joshua Marker feel helpless, not knowing who's taking care of their nephew and niece. Phoenix police arrested Nicole marker and her boyfriend, William Johnson, on Tuesday morning. According to court documents, video taken by a Ring surveillance camera inside the apartment revealed at least 20 clips of the couple beating the boy when he couldn't pronounce words or read sentences.
The alleged victim's uncle shared photos taken in 2016, claiming his nephew has been abused for years.
"Well, when he didn't listen before, she would pinch him so hard that the bruises took a year to fade," said Joshua.
Ashlie says Nicole's ex-boyfriend also abused the child.
"He told us that they would put cigarettes out on his body for fun," said Ashlie.
Back in 2016, there was a long custody battle in Iowa over the two kids, and it ended with their grandmother taking them back to their mother. Ashlie says she continued to call DCS in Arizona.
"I called when they originally went back, and they said 'OK. We'll keep an eye out on it' like they didn't act like anything, and I actually emailed the children's teacher in Arizona, and they said 'OK, we'll keep an eye out," said Ashlie.
Between Marker and Johnson, they're accused of 14 counts of aggravated assault of a minor. A thousand miles away, Ashlie and Joshua hopes something will finally be done.
William Johnson (left) and Nicole Marker (right)
"We fought," said Joshua. "We said this was gonna happen, and no one cared."
Johnson is still booked in jail, while Marker has been released, but is not allowed to have any contact with her son.