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POLK COUNTY, FL – Police have arrested a woman after they say she encouraged her boyfriend to beat her 2-year-old son on multiple occasions, beatings that led to the boy’s death.

Police were called to a home early Tuesday morning where they found 2-year-old Harley Don Hiatt Jr. unresponsive.

The boy had visible bruising on his arms and legs, injuries the boy’s mother, 26-year-old Shannon Short, said came from beatings doled out by her boyfriend, 26-year-old Christian Thompson.

Hiatt was taken to the hospital where it was determined he had bleeding on the brain, among other injuries. He was pronounced dead a few hours later.

An autopsy would reveal that aside from numerous bruises on his face that appeared to be caused by a belt, various scars and scratches, Hiatt also had a lacerated bowel that led to peritonitis and brain hemorrhaging.

When police questioned Short about these major injuries, she told them that Thompson was the one who had cared for the boy in the few days before his death. She said Hiatt was not acting like himself and was clinging to her.

On the day before he died, Hiatt was vomiting, doubled over holding his stomach, and moaning and dry heaving. Police say instead of seeking medical attention for her son, she gave him antibiotics and then smoked weed with Thompson.

Thompson was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child, aggravated child abuse, negligent abuse with great bodily harm, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.

After further investigation, police would find that Short did more than turn a blind eye to the abuse her son was suffering. She was actively encouraging it.

Police say in one text message sent by Short to Thompson in reference to her son, Short instructs him to “fuck him up.

She has now been arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child, negligent child abuse with great bodily harm, child abuse, failure to report child abuse, possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia and petit theft.

“When you hear what this precious baby boy was put through, it’s sickening. His mother knew about the abuse, allowed it, and continued to leave him in the care of his abuser. She and her boyfriend even joked about it. The whole thing is heartbreaking, and I don’t think it’s possible for me to be more disgusted by their actions,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

Christian Thompson, Harley Hiatt, Shannon Short

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