Prosecutors allege mother had history of abuse toward child
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- "Jesus gave it to me I'm gonna let it shine, " singing with a smile 7-year-old RJ was full of life before his death.
"You can't even imagine how tough this is," his grandmother Latanza Harris said. "I feel like this is a nightmare right now."
Harris said this is a shock to her family. The boys mother Dina Palmer and her husband Markeice Palmer are charged with the boy's murder.
"My daughter loves children she loves people," Harris said. "She would give her life, I don't understand."
At her second court appearance Thursday, the boy's mother was still emotional over her son's death. She wiped tears from her eyes as prosecutors said she abused RJ before, when the family lived in Illinois.
"It was a police report," Michael Staudaher with the District Attorney's Office said. "She made admissions that she thought physical punishment was appropriate for children and if they didn't like it that was essentially their problem."
Clark County Child Protective Services was also investigating allegations of child abuse days before RJ was taken to the hospital where he died. when RJ was taken
"I saw photographs of the child yesterday there are significant acute injuries," Staudaher said. "As well as evidence of older injuries related to this child, in at least the last couple of months."
RJ's grandmother said she sent him to live with his mother in Las Vegas just three months ago, but she had no idea what was happening at home.
"He appeared just a little bit sad," Harris said. "I would always ask him if something was wrong on the phone and he just said I'm ok grandma."
Harris said she sent RJ to live with his mother because she was finally back on her feet. She said her grandson wanted to be with his mom in Las Vegas.
The boy's body was flown back to Illinois Thursday, his funeral is on Saturday.