Dashawn was covered with bruises, welts, cuts, and burns from head to toe, said Lt. Phil Riehl of the Philadelphia Police Department homicide unit.
"This is one of the worst cases we've seen," he said.
Patterson and Patrick initially told police Dashawn fell from his bike Friday, Riehl said, and that his condition worsened during the night. They later said they had been teaching the boy lessons at home, and they admitted to striking the child as punishment, Riehl said.
Dashawn was hit with a belt, Riehl said, and the burns were apparently caused by a hair dryer.
Riehl described Patrick as the primary abuser but said Patterson also admitted assaulting the child.
Patterson also has a 3-year-old son, Riehl said, who has been removed from the home and placed in the custody of his father and grandparents. Doctors examined that child and reported he does not appear to have been harmed, the lieutenant said. The city's Department of Human Services continues to investigate.
Police said Saturday that they were not aware of any previous involvement DHS may have had with the family. Riehl said Patrick was known to police.
Contact Jonathan Lai
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