6 arrested

(Meredith) -- Six adults in New Jersey have been charged with severely beating a 3-year-old boy in a consistent and coordinated form of punishment.

Police arrested the boy's mother, 43-year-old Natacha Smith, along with Patricia Gamarra, 62, Mary Buchan, 55, Patricia Buchan, 28, Bridget Buchan, 23, and Homer Searcy, 39, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement Wednesday.

Each suspect is facing a charge of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

Authorities said the group routinely beat the young boy with a belt and fists. They also allegedly poured scalding water on him "as a form of corporal punishment."

All six of the defendants lived in the same house in Newark with the boy and five other children, NJ.com reported. Those children are now in the custody of child protective services.

The 3-year-old victim was hospitalized to treat his injuries but has since been released. He's currently in protective custody.

Authorities have not yet revealed what information led them to investigate the alleged house of horror. 

The suspects are being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, about 9 miles from New York City. They are scheduled to make their first court appearance on Thursday, Dec. 13. 

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